World sport is obviously suffering from a period of extreme uncertainty at the moment, with major competitions and events being cancelled or moved.
Perhaps the most notable to be shifted is the 2020 football Euros, which has now been delayed by a full year to accommodate domestic football calendars. With the men’s T20 World Cup due in Australia later this year, there was a fear it too might be moved, but it seems that won’t be the case, for now.
First Post reports that the event is still set to go ahead as planned, although that is sure to be under review as the year progresses. At present though, us cricket fans do still have something to look forward to. With the competition due to start on October 18th, I sincerely hope we’re through this coronavirus nightmare by then.
Being an England supporter I’m obviously very keen for the tournament go ahead. We lifted the 2019 (50-over) World Cup title after heading into the tournament as favourites, as this infographic by Bwin Sports reminded me, and we’re likely to be amongst the favourites down under too. What’s more, I think we handle the pressure of big occasions pretty well.
Although we’re currently third in the ICC T20 rankings, I actually think we’re a bit better than that. The T20 game is something we seem comfortable with despite floundering somewhat in Test cricket. With the 2019 World Cup success still fresh in the memory, there’s a really good chance we can add another title to the trophy cabinet. The players will certainly be up for it after coming so close last time.
Although there’s always an element of luck in the shortest form, and anyone can beat anyone on a given day, I think the other teams will fear England more than most. Hosts Australia will also be dangerous – the ICC rankings have them second to Pakistan – and home advantage is sure to work in their favour.
As for Pakistan, it will be interesting to see how Mohammad Amir goes. He retired from Test cricket in July 2019 to concentrate on the white ball game and is currently impressing in the Pakistan Super League with Karachi Kings. Although I was very disappointed when Amir turned his back on red ball cricket, he’s a fantastic talent and my forgiving side is pleased to see him doing well again. Pakistan’s T20 form has been really good in recent times so they’ve got a good chance.
I’ve also read that another long-retired hero might feature in Australia. AB de Villiers stepped back from international cricket in 2018 (was it that long ago?) but he’s refused to rule out appearing in the tournament. Whether the Cricket Boks decide to pick him though is another matter completely. Things are rarely straightforward as far as South African cricket is concerned.
The key now is obviously to see if the event goes ahead. I imagine the authorities are absolutely desperate to end a tough year with a positive conclusion. With almost every large sporting event set to be cancelled for the foreseeable future, the T20 World Cup is potentially the light at the end of the tunnel.
Given that sports fans might have been starved of action for months, it might even end up being one of the most eagerly-anticipated cricketing events for a while. Although I much prefer Test cricket to white ball contests, the World T20 is always a fun competition that’s worth watching.