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PCB not in favour of WT20 in 2018

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The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shaharyar Khan has said that he was not in favour of the World T20 taking place in 2018 and insisted that the cricket boards needed to pay more attention to the traditional Test format.

“Yes T20 cricket is very popular and necessary to globalise the sport but personally it doesn’t appeal to me as a long term product. Test cricket is the real face of the sport and it must be reinvented and popularised again,” Khan said in an interview to PTI.

“So far we don’t know anything about the International Cricket Council (ICC) wanting the World T20 to return in 2018 but when the matter does come up we are not likely to support it,” Khan said.

Initially, the ICC and its member boards had decided to hold the next World T20 in 2020 since the 50-over World Cup is scheduled in 2019 and the Champions Trophy in 2017. Besides, there has been in talks of launching a Test championship.

But recent media reports have suggested the ICC has been in talks with Star Sports to sign a deal for two World T20 tournaments in 2018 and 2020 which would fetch it lucrative revenues and make it two-year ICC event.

The ICC apparently has been encouraged by recent figures that over 80 million in India watched India’s semifinal and games against Australia and Pakistan in this year’s World T20 event while there were over 750 million views worldwide for online videos of matches, compared to 250 million during the 2015 World Cup.

Assuming an agreement is reached, it would then be voted on at the ICC Annual Conference in June.

Khan clearly hinted that Pakistan could possibly vote against a two-year cycle for the World T20.

“I am a traditionalist and I belong to the old school. To me what is most important now is we pay more serious attention to reviving Test cricket and even 50-over cricket,” Khan said.

“While it is true T20 cricket has become very popular but I feel there is already lot of this format being held with every country hosting its own foreign league,” he said.

The PCB chief said that not only he as an individual but many other former players and cricket administrators were worried that too much of T20 cricket could damage the traditional format.

“Commercialisation of cricket is there but we need to strike the right balance. We need to safeguard against the public tiring of T20 cricket,” he said.

The ICC has indicated that the revenues generated from sale of broadcast and sponsorship rights for the World T20 in a two-year cycle would mean more money to safeguard the Tests.