'India pay the bills and therefore...': BCCI, ICC savaged in 'astonishing' dig over T20 World Cup Super 8 seeding | Crickit
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'India pay the bills and therefore...': BCCI, ICC savaged in 'astonishing' dig over T20 World Cup Super 8 seeding

Jun 19, 2024 11:25 PM IST

Mark Butcher took a direct dig at the ICC for what he perceived as favoritism towards the Rohit Sharma-led side and the Indian audience.

It is a three-stage T20 World Cup before two teams make the final on June 29 in Barbados. The preliminary round comprised 20 teams divided into four teams of five each. The top two sides from each group then made the Super Eight stage, where they were divided into two separate groups of four teams each. However, there was a twist in the rule. In a first-of-its-kind move made by the International Cricket Council (ICC), top eight ranked teams were assigned with pre-tournament seeds, thus giving them the exact idea of which group they would land in the Super Eight and which venues they would play should they make the next round. This decision, which subsequently nullified whether the team finished first or second in their respective groups, has significantly impacted the competitiveness of the tournament, raising concerns among the cricket community.

India's captain Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of an ICC Men's T20 World Cup Super 8 cricket match between India and Afghanistan, in Bridgetown, Barbados(PTI)
India's captain Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of an ICC Men's T20 World Cup Super 8 cricket match between India and Afghanistan, in Bridgetown, Barbados(PTI)

Amid widespread criticism from veteran cricketers and active players like Mitchell Starc, former England international Mark Butcher voiced his disapproval of the pre-decided Super Eight schedule in the T20 World Cup. He took a direct dig at the ICC for what he perceived as favoritism towards the Rohit Sharma-led side and the Indian audience.

Besides the pre-tournament seeding structure, Butcher was disgruntled that India are also aware of its venue and date for the semifinal, irrespective of whether they finish first or second in the Super Eight group.

Speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, Butcher said: "That whole thing from start to finish, from the idea of where you finish first or second in the group stage didn't matter where you ended up in Super Eights. And then one team knows which group it is going to be in the Super Eights and where its semifinal will be, meaning that the other team finishing second also knows where its semifinal will be is extraordinary.

"How do you organise a competition around the fact that one team knows exactly, should everything go to plan, that it will be playing their semifinal on a particular day and at a particular venue, when everybody in the opposite group has no idea? And that is what it should be. You shouldn't have any clue. The group thing was pre-ordained simply because there was no seeding between finishing first or second in your group stage and that is wrong. I found that astonishing, and we all know why that is the case. It is because for the TV audiences, as far as India are concerned, pay the bills and therefore were kind of promised or delivered a scenario where they would exactly know where they would play their semifinal should they reach it. I find that incredible."

Butcher also lashed out at ICC's rule for not allowing commentators to speak against the format of the T20 World Cup.

"You won't [hear anything from the broadcasters] because they're working for the ICC and the ICC won't allow any form of dissent from the people that it asked to come and work for it so you don't hear any criticism of anything. It's not allowed, banned," he added.

Earlier, Starc questioned the logic behind Australia being seeded B2 for Super Eight despite finishing top of their group table with an unbeaten run.

“I think there's a question to be asked about pre-seeding. I'm not sure I'm a fan of that,” the fast bowler said after Australia's win against Scotland last week.

The Super Eight stage begins from Wednesday onwards in Antigua with the USA taking on South Africa.

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