The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has already stumped a number of sports and cricket tournaments, could now trouble the ICC ODI League, scheduled from May 2020 through March 2022.
With just 11 days left to the start of the ICC ODI League and no signs of abating of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that the league could be the next one to make it to the list of quarantined cricket tournaments.
Despite lockdown across most countries, the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths have continued to rise, creating a state of uncertainty on the resumption of normal services. Cricket has been severely affected, pushing cricket boards to the brink of bankruptcy. The time of resumption of cricket is unknown, even if played behind closed doors.
Here, we bring you what is the ICC ODI league? And How is it likely to be affected by Covid-19 pandemic?
ICC ODI League
ICC ODI League or ICC Cricket World Cup Super League 2020-22 is the inaugural edition of ODI league. The ODI league was announced by ICC as a part of next cycle of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) on 20 June, 2018.
The one-day international tournament will act as a qualification pathway for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, and will see the 12 Test-playing nations and the Netherlands, who gained ODI status by winning the ICC World Cricket League in 2017, compete against each other.
Each of the 13 sides will take part in as many as eight (3-match) series over a two-year period between May 2020 and March 2022, against mutually agreed opponents on a home-and-away basis.
The ODI league ensures a 24 ODI matches per team as a road to 2023 World Cup. The League gets rid of the current ODI ranking based qualifications to the World Cup.
Hence, when the ICC ODI league ends in March 2022, the seven highest-ranked teams apart from India – who have qualified automatically as hosts – will qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
The five remaining sides will fight for a chance to qualify for the tournament through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
The tournament, along with the ICC World Test Championship, which commenced in July 2019, significantly increases the cricket played by the likes of Ireland, Afghanistan and the Netherlands.
As per the Future Tours Programme announced by ICC on 20 June, 2018, the ICC ODI League will commence in May, 2020 with Bangladesh taking on Ireland.
India will begin its ICC ODI League campaign with a tour to Sri Lanka in June, when Australia plays Ireland in Ireland and South Africa tours Sri Lanka. Australia will then visit England in July, when Pakistan tours Netherlands followed by West Indies tour of Netherlands.
ICC ODI League Schedule
|May, 2020||Bangladesh Tour Ireland|
|June, 2020||India Tour Sri Lanka; Australia Tours Ireland; South Africa Tours Sri Lanka; Australia Play Zimbabwe|
|July, 2020||Australia Tour England; Pakistan Tours Netherlands; West Indies Tours Netherlands|
|August, 2020||India Tours Zimbabwe; Afghanistan Tour Ireland|
|September, 2020||England Tours India; Netherlands Tour Zimbabwe; Ireland Tour England|
|October, 2020||Pakistan Tour South Africa; Zimbabwe Tour West Indies; Zimbabwe Tour Sri Lanka|
|November, 2020||India Tour Australia; Zimbabwe Tour Pakistan|
|December, 2020||Sri Lanka Tour Bangladesh|
|January, 2021||West Indies Tour Bangladesh; Ireland Play Afghanistan in India; New Zealand Tour Australia|
|February, 2021||Sri Lanka Tour New Zealand; Sri Lanka Tour West Indies; Bangladesh Tour New Zealand|
|March, 2021||Afghanistan Play India; England Tour South Africa|
|April, 2021||Pakistan Play Zimbabwe|
|May, 2021||England Tour Ireland|
|June, 2021||Bangladesh Tour Zimbabwe; Australia Tour West Indies; Sri Lanka Tour England; South Africa Tour Ireland|
|July, 2021||Ireland Tour Netherlands; Afghanistan Tour Sri Lanka; Pakistan Tour England|
|August, 2021||Zimbabwe Tour Ireland|
|September, 2021||Pakistan Play Afghanistan; Netherlands Tour South Africa|
|October, 2021||New Zealand Tour Pakistan; England Tour Bangladesh; South Africa Tour India|
|November, 2021||Afghanistan Tour Zimbabwe|
|December, 2021||West Indies Tour Pakistan; Netherlands Play Afghanistan in India|
|January, 2022||Netherlands Tour New Zealand; South Africa Tour Australia; West Indies Tour India Ireland Tour West Indies|
|February, 2022||Afghanistan Tour Bangladesh; Australia Play Pakistan|
|March, 2022||Australia Play Afghanistan (in India); Bangladesh Tour South Africa India Tour New Zealand|
Which Countries Does India Play Against?
India plays against New Zealand, Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan in 3 match home and away ODI series.
Countries Which Will Not Play Against Each Other
|Teams||Will Not Play|
|Afghanistan||England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies|
|Australia||Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands and Sri Lanka|
|Bangladesh||Australia, India, Netherlands and Pakistan|
|England||Afghanistan, New Zealand, West Indies and Zimbabwe|
|India||Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands and Pakistan|
|Ireland||Australia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka|
|Netherlands||Australia, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka|
|New Zealand||Afghanistan, England, South Africa and Zimbabwe|
|Pakistan||Bangladesh, India, Ireland and Sri Lanka|
|South Africa||Afghanistan, New Zealand, West Indies and Zimbabwe|
|Sri Lanka||Australia, Ireland, Netherlands and Pakistan|
|West Indies||Afghanistan, England, South Africa and Zimbabwe|
|Zimbabwe||England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies|
How Will Covid-19 Affect The ICC ODI League?
The uncertainty in resumption of normal services due to lockdown and travel restrictions in effect in most countries in the wake of COVID-19 could mean that matches and tours of the ICC ODI League scheduled in the next three months, i.e May, June and July, if not more would be affected.
The League’s future is dependent on how quickly we humans are able to contain this raging Corona pandemic. However, if it continues unabated then the ICC may have to reschedule the Future Tours Programme or if ICC decides against rescheduling it could also decide to share the points for the series affected due to the pandemic as it did for the women’s cricket.
Recently, Indian Women’s Team qualified for 2021 ICC Women’s Cricket Cup after ICC Women’s Championship Technical Committee (TC) decided that 6 teams (viz. India, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand) would share points in all three series in the ICC Women’s Championship 2017-2020 that could not take place during the competition window.
However, it would be too early to predict the future course of action. The future of the ODI league and cricket will become clear when ICC holds its next Board meeting in June.