Wasim Khan: International cricket must find a way to ‘co-exist’ with T20 leagues


International cricket will have to find a way to “co-exist” with the continual emergence of franchise-based T20 leagues, ICC’s general manager of cricket Wasim Khan  has said.

One of international cricket’s showpiece events, the World Test Championship (WTC) final, is less than a fortnight away but is being played at a time of growing uncertainty around the relevance of the international game.

The emergence of new leagues this year in South Africa, the UAE, and, from July, the USA has put a further  crunch on player availabilities in a calendar that was feeling hemmed in even before this year.

Jason Roy is foregoing a part of his incremental contract with England to play in the US’s Major League Cricket (MLC), Trent Boult gave up the contract with New Zealand last year; there’s talk of IPL franchises offering year-round contracts to players. All of this is playing out against the backdrop of an international bilateral calendar that is feeling increasingly arbitrary and expendable. And nothing, Khan pointed out, is dropping out of the calendar for the moment.

“The fact that we’re seeing some highly competitive domestic T20 leagues around the world provides more choice for fans, more choice for players in terms of taking part, which is only going to improve the product particularly around our white-ball tournaments, the ICC World Cups,” Khan said. “Obviously, the way the schedule is structured now and the emergence of these leagues, there has to be a way for us to co-exist. Nothing is going to be removed so we are going to have to co-exist moving forward.”

The fact that Full Members have agreed to retain the WTC over the next eight-year cycle has given Khan confidence that the game’s oldest format still holds relevance.

“The context for red-ball cricket, when there is competition from other formats, competition for the time of players, the World Test Championship is still very dear to countries and players,” he said. “We’ve heard from some of the top stars around the world talking about the importance of Test cricket

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