Blueprint for cricket in 2030
Cricket in 2030 will undoubtedly be very different to it is now (if it is going on after Coronavirus!). But what will change, what will stay the same and what new things will be in place. This is what I hope will happen to cricket in 2030.
1. The World Cup
The World Cup in 2019 was a phenomenal tournament, obviously remembered for the final of all finals. The tournament as a whole was very successful too, even with the controversy surrounding team numbers. However, the format worked. No side could argue with being not in the top 4, due to losing against weaker teams etc. It was extremely fair. Although the thought still lingers about how much better it could have been with two more countries. And in my opinion, the answer is enough. Two more teams makes it feel far more 'World' cup like, and the tournament could still be fair - everyone could still play everyone. Hopefully, for the 2027 tournament, this is what the tournament will look like.
2. World T20
This is the tournament the ICC need to push harder than all the others. This can be the leaping ground for the associate nations. This can be the tournament where we find the new Rashid Khan's of the cricketing world, players that otherwise may well not get a look in. In 2030, my hope is for a football world cup kind of feel - with 24 nations. 6 groups of 4, make it short and sharp. Quarters, semis and final. Simple. This tournament needs to be the big cricket party, while the world cup can be the calm, cool cricket lovers dream.
3. Test World Championship
9 teams? Out of 12? The most complex points system in sport? Sorry ICC, you've missed the mark hugely with this one. For the next round of the test championship - I'd do two divisions. One of 6, and one of 7. the 13th nation would be the winner of the ICC intercontinental cup. Then, 1 side would go up and down, from each division, 1, 2 and 3 (Intercontinental cup). This would create a much bigger sense of drama for teams - the threat of relegation for teams like Ireland, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan and then the chance for promotion for the Netherlands, Scotland or Nepal. Moreover, the two divisions would make the cricket far more closely fought.
In division 1, all the 6 sides would play each other twice, one home and one away. 3 matches in a series, with the option to play more for the Ashes (no bonus points). This would mean 30 matches per 2/2 and a half years In division 2, I would do the same thing, with two matches per series instead, meaning 20 games per 2/2 and a half years.
4. The english domestic season
The county championship at the moment is in a difficult state. The format changes each year - no one really knows what is going on. This is what I'd do: 3 divisions of 6 sides, playing everyone twice, home and away. 2 sides go up, and 2 sides go down, creating drama until the end of the competition.
Moving on to the One day cup, the format for that is fine. This is a rare one that needs no adapting.
The T20 blast keeps getting better year in year, attendances keep going up and the players get stronger and stronger. I sincerely hope the Hundred doesn't kill the blast - it has served as a good breeding ground for young talent in England.
Talking of the Hundred, I believe this tournament will be a success. People were skeptical over the T20 tournament when it started in 2003, and this is the same now. But with the best players in the world, this new comp cannot really fail. Fans will enjoy it, and more, non fans will come and watch it too.