ICC rejects criticism on FTP

General Manager Cricket at International Cricket Council (ICC) Wasim Khan speaking during an exclusive interview with Geo News. — Photo by authors

BIRMINGHAM: In the backdrop of an increasing number of T20 leagues around the world, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has rejected the criticism over the recently announced future tours programme (FTP), saying the situation is not as bad as it might get during the next cycle of the FTP.

Speaking to Geo News, Wasim Khan, ICC’s General Manager Cricket, maintained that the biggest challenge is to keep a balance between the FTP, bilateral cricket and ICC events.

The T20 leagues are springing up like mushrooms around the globe and ICC is facing criticism from cricket fans for not handling the situation. But in Wasim’s opinion, the situation is not as bad as it might get during the next cycle of FTP.

“In FTP, member cricket boards finalise the bilateral cricket and ICC only facilitates them. When you take a look at the upcoming future tours programme, there is actually more bilateral cricket happening in the next cycle. But the bigger challenge will be faced in the following cycle of FTP where we will have to make sure that domestic T20 league doesn’t take over everything else,” he explained.

“The major chuck of FTP is based on bilateral cricket which is between countries to arrange. ICC’s role is merely to facilitate those conversations; to finalise the FTP, that’s mainly the responsibility of the relevant cricket boards.”

In the next cycle of ICC’s FTP, Pakistan is only playing 27 Test matches which is even less than what Bangladesh and New Zealand have got in the same time period.

“I don’t think it’s the end of the world, as another issue with Test matches is that most of them end up with financial losses. Although it’s good for cricket fans that their team plays more Test matches, it’s not good to play 40 or 50 Test matches and end up making financial losses,” said Wasim.

“Since Pakistan is not playing any bilateral cricket against India, there are issues of sustainability, so for the PCB, it’s hard to keep the balance between various formats. In my opinion, it is the right balance at the moment,” he added.

ICC members want ODI cricket

Responding to a question about the ongoing debate on the future of one-day international cricket, Wasim told Geo News that although there’s no immediate threat to this format of the game, the final decision in the fate of ODI cricket lies with the ICC’s member nations.

“When ICC speaks to the member boards on this issue, they express their willingness to continue playing ODI cricket. In the next cycle of FTP, we have ODI world cups scheduled. So we will see what happens post 2027 when the upcoming cycle of cricket ends,” he said.

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