Fri | Jul 23, 2021

Champions Trophy return welcomed

Pundits warn about potential burnout with loaded international schedule

Published:Wednesday | June 16, 2021 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Lewis
Lewis
Perry
Perry
West Indies’ players celebrate the wicket of Pakistan’s Imran Farhat during their ICC Champions Trophy Group B match at the Oval cricket ground, London, in June 2013.
West Indies’ players celebrate the wicket of Pakistan’s Imran Farhat during their ICC Champions Trophy Group B match at the Oval cricket ground, London, in June 2013.
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Former national cricketers Wayne Lewis and Nehemiah Perry, while welcoming the return of the Champions Trophy, say cricketers and member associations will have to carefully manage their players to avoid complications from a potentially loaded...

Former national cricketers Wayne Lewis and Nehemiah Perry, while welcoming the return of the Champions Trophy, say cricketers and member associations will have to carefully manage their players to avoid complications from a potentially loaded schedule.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) recently announced the return of the Champions Trophy, which was discontinued after 2017. Additionally, the T20 World Cup will remain a biennial tournament during the next eight-year Future Tours Programme cycle and will be expanded to 20 teams. The Champions Trophy will resume in 2025, with Pakistan finally getting a chance to defend their 2017 title.

Lewis has welcomed the reintroduction of the tournament and says that its initial dissolution should not have occurred, as there is still an appetite for limited-overs cricket despite the rapid growth of the T20 format.

“I don’t know if they should have at any stage sacrificed the Champions Trophy. I think they did it because they thought that T20 was so dynamic and exciting, and that they were so afraid that T20 would make Test cricket and limited-overs cricket obsolete,” Lewis told The Gleaner. “That never really happened, because that last time they had the Champions Trophy in England there were still sell-out crowds same way.”

In 2018, ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson said that the T20 format would be their method of growing the game internationally, which led to the decision to discontinue the competition.

However, Perry says that the limited-overs format is still important in allowing players to test themselves in different situations.

“I strongly believe in 50-over cricket. It teaches you to build innings and so on and a person’s technique is really tested in 50-overs cricket. It is a testing time for captains as well on how well you use up the tactics in the 50-overs game,” Perry said.

MANAGING PLAYERS

The ICC scrapped the idea of a 2018 edition after the staging of the 2017 Champions Trophy.

Perry says that with the changes in the calendar, along with the various T20 leagues that occur each year, it will be important that member associations properly manage their players to avoid burnout in instances when the calendar is packed with international tournaments.

“I think some of the countries that have a small pool of players are going to struggle, and I think you have to widen your net a bit. I think you need to have specialists in these kind of scenarios, where you have T20 cricket and your Test cricket, and so on,” Perry said. “It’s going to be very strategic, from a country’s point of view, how you rotate your players, your marquee players, your key players.”

Lewis believes that while the players will have the responsibility to ease their load during championship years, it is critical for them not only to perform on the international stage, but to be able to secure high-paying contracts to the various T20 leagues.

“You might find some players playing four or five different T20 tournaments around the world. They are going to have to limit that in the year of the championships. If you go to the Champions Trophy or the World Cup and dominate, then your stock will go up exponentially, and that is what you are relying on to go into the market and negotiate the best deal for (those) leagues,” Lewis says.

The revised T20 World Cup is still slated to begin in October in India. The ICC postponed the 2020 edition to this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2022 edition is still scheduled, with Australia being confirmed as the hosts.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com