Defending women’s champions Australia will be hard to beat
Lasith Malinga will lead Sri Lanka’s fortunes.
Multicultural flavour will be the ICC focus for the T20 World Cup in Australia – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE
Australia’s edition of the T20 World Cup will deliver a cricketing feast laced with multicultural flavour promises ICC CEO Nick Hockley at a briefing to the Sri Lankan involvement at the Grand on Princess in Mulgrave, Melbourne recently.
Speaking exclusively to the Lanka Times in Melbourne and Elanka community website in Australia Hockley says there will be a heavy emphasis on multiculturism and a projected attempt to lure all communities in Australia to get involved in this exciting event which is expected to have at least a billion viewers around the world.
All venues around Australia hosting World Cup games will be set up in a carnival like atmosphere in and around the grounds with Food stalls and large screen TV’s set up outside venues for those who choose to remain outside the main arena similar to when the Cricket World Cup was staged in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
The T20 World Cup is currently touring Australia to get the nation fully involved and promotional activities have been organized in schools and other institutions involved in the game.
The unexpected distraction which has engulfed Australia due to the raging bushfires around the country will no doubt have an impact on the World Cup, but the ICC believes it will also help fans from cricketing nations around the world to rally in support by their attendance which will help in many ways towards the recovery of the stricken parts of the country.
The ICC for their part will be heavily involved in supporting initiatives orchestrated by Cricket Australia and through its association with UNICEF towards the bushfire crisis says Max Abbot, Media and communications Manager of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020.
The latest edition will see a separation of the men’s and women’s competitions in an ICC attempt to give equal reverence to the two competitions unlike in the past where the women’s competition was an undercard to the men’s event.
“We have seen a dramatic interest in the women’s game and have decided to have separate competitions to establish an equal footing and following among fans”, said Hockley. The ICC initiative is bound to meet with success while giving fans a break from a monotonous attendance at both events simultaneously.
The Women’s World Cup kicks off on February 21 with hosts and defending champion Australia led by Meg Lanning taking on India at Sydney Showground Stadium. The star-studded Aussies with fantastic talent in their ranks in Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healey skipper Lanning and the rest look firm favourites to go back to back at home.
The men’s T20 World cup begins in October 18 with the qualifying tournament for two spots with the top rung who have made it to the final stage.
Former World T20 Cup champion Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have slid to the bottom rung and need to top their group to make it to the main stage of the World Cup. They will be pitted against Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Scotland, Oman and the Netherlands.
From a Sri Lankan perspective it is unquestionable that their fortunes have been tempered by bad administration rather than lack of talent and ability.
The appointment of former Pakistan, Australian and South African coach Mickey Arthur as head coach replacing the controversially sacked Chandika Hathurusinghe after much turmoil at the last cricket World Cup will infuse much needed stability in the direction of the islanders fortunes as they regather their focus for the important tournament.
Sri Lanka on song, are no pushover to any nation and they will naturally be intent on regaining their lost mojo which has depressed their fans globally.
If there was a concern about their resurgence, it lies in the continued persistence with Lasith Malinga as Skipper of the side. While there is no doubt of his ability with the ball even in his twilight years, his decision making has been questionable up to the last venture in India where they were comprehensively thrashed in the three-match series.