This leaves a free slot in the Twenty20 calendar, one which I believe is a perfect opportunity for a tournament to be played outside India. Below is a small selection of possible venues that I would be keen to throw into the hat:
- West End Park, Doha, Qatar
- Dubai Sports City, United Arab Emirates
- Guanggong Stadium, Guangzhou, China
- Kallang Cricket Ground, Singapore
- Yeonhui Cricket Ground, Incheon, South Korea
All of them are situated not in your usual Full Member countries, but in nations which have limited cricketing tradition and little public exposure to the game. They also carry economic clout, and for that reason should be target markets for the bean counters at the ICC. Therefore, would it hurt to work in an annual two-week tournament, featuring the best cricketers in the world, to show to the public in these places?
There are, of course, numerous options for a replacement tournament for the CLT20. Naturally, the one which had gained most traction with the BCCI was some sort of mini-IPL, consisting of either seven or fifteen matches. This wouldn't fit with my suggestion, because there is no real reason for a curious Qatari to take time out of their day to watch Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians.
Instead, I would suggest an IPL World Series.
By drawing elevens - likely made up of players who have IPL contracts - from Australia, India and South Africa (who were the main investors in the CLT20 competition) along with a World XI, it would be possible to create entirely new groups of supporters. For instance, Indians could of course support the India XI, but if their favourite players (perhaps de Villiers or Gayle) are playing for other teams, they might instead root for them. Equally, those from the host nation could be encouraged to get behind the World XI, especially if it contained one or two players from the country in which the tournament is being played: perhaps Anish Paraam, Park Taekwan or Shaiman Anwar. The local player could become the face of the tournament in the country in which the tournament is being played.
Theoretically, this proposal could be the best of both worlds: lucrative, Gayle-fuelled TV rights, to be subsumed to a large extent by the BCCI, as well as a genuine opportunity to bring cricket to a new audience every year.
But that was the main intention behind the ICC Champions Trophy, all the way back when it was actually the Knockout Cup. It didn't remain so for long.