ICC bosses and Indian TV chiefs have acted swiftly to plug a gap in the fixture calendar by scheduling a new T20 tournament to start on Monday, October 29, the day after the final of the current Champions League tournament.
"Basically, someone dropped the ball and left a window between the end of the Champions League and the start of the England and India matches," said a spokesman. "We were looking at potentially several days without an international cricket competition. That person has now been terminated, and we are working around the clock to correct this oversight."
There had been serious concern in the corridors of cricket power when it emerged that there might be up to two days without a major T20 fixture at the end of October, and cricket chiefs were understandably concerned that a fickle public might watch something else other than cricket on TV for a day or two.
"It's disappointing," conceded the spokesman. "Especially as the scheduling has been working really well of late. We had the World Twenty20 and then after an appropriate period of reflection to savour and enjoy that, and a change of shirt, we've pressed on right away with the Champions League. But once that is over, the calendar is an absolute deserted wasteland for a whole week before England play in India."
The solution is a "Second Tier" club T20 tournament modelled on football's UEFA Cup. Teams that finished between sixth and tenth in their domestic competitions, plus a host of Associate, Affiliate and Aspirant international teams, and New Zealand Under-19s C team, will battle in the tournament, named the Competitors' Plate. Interest worldwide is expected to be fevered.
"It's going to be pretty exciting stuff, watching fifth-in-the-Friends-Life-Western-division Glamorgan in a grudge match against Guatemala in Pool A," said the spokesman. "We're having two pools of six teams in a round robin, and then they go through to a Super 12 stage and then a knockout. Keep an eye out for the Leeward Islands Under-13s against Pakistan Women B in match 97, that is going to be a cracker."
The prospect of a day or two without a cricket tournament fortunately averted, some international sporting federations and their partner broadcasters would rest on their laurels. But not the ICC. They are already looking at the possibility of running simultaneous World Cup tournaments in different time zones.
"Plans are in place for a T20 World Cup in India, to run concurrently with a T20 World Cup in the Caribbean. Given a bit of luck with connecting flights, we're confident that players could get a T20 under their belt in the morning in India and then jet over to the West Indies to contest the other World Cup in the evening. That would mean cricket could be on 18 or 20 hours a day, which would obviously be a right result. Our motto is very much "the more the merrier", and we're absolutely certain the appetite is there for a dual time zone, 365-day-a-year rolling T20 World Cup or Cups."