'T20 World Cup is set for India. They bring money…': Vaughan slams ICC, Gilchrist says 'compromised cricket'


Former England captain Michael Vaughan and former Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist launched a scathing attack on the ICC for making special rules for India in the T20 World Cup 2024. Vaughan, who has been quite vocal about his 'ICC being in India' theory throughout the tournament, took his criticism a few notches higher ahead of the India vs South Africa T20 World Cup final in Barbados, saying that the tournament has been designed entirely for India to win.

Michael Vaughan and Adam Gilchrist have criticised the ICC for giving India special treatment in the T20 World Cup because they make money. (AP)

Vaughan's theory was based on two key points – 1) India knew that their semi-final (if they qualified) would be in Guyana, regardless of their position in the Super Eight stage. 2) India are the only team in the tournament to play all their matches at the same time. For the convenience of spectators in India, all their matches were day games, while other teams had to juggle between day games and matches under lights.

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Vaughan said it was understandable that commercial interests were given priority in bilateral matches, but the ICC should have been more fair to other teams in the World Cup and not favour a particular team just because its matches generate more revenue.

“It's their tournament, isn't it? Literally, it's their tournament. They can play whenever they want. They know where their semi-final is. They play every single game in the morning so people can watch them in India at night. I know money is a big deal in the cricket world. And I understand that in bilateral series, but you would think that when you get into a World Cup, the ICC should be a little fairer to everyone. And it shouldn't just be limited to India, because they bring in some money.

“Like I said, I completely understand it in bilateral matches but when you go into a World Cup, there's no sympathy or any kind of bias towards any one team. This tournament is all about India,” Vaughan said on the Club Prayer Fire podcast.

'Indian fans are not naive enough to realise cricket has been compromised': Gilchrist

Gilchrist said there are many Indian fans who are not “naive” enough to know that the game has been compromised to an extent in favour of their team.

“A lot of the passionate Indian fans are also well aware of that. They agree that the game has been compromised to some extent and we reiterate that. India have been the best team. They are the most consistent team. Maybe South Africa would claim that they do as well. India should win and if they do then good for them, but you are right. There are a lot of Indian supporters who are not naïve and blind to the situation,” Gilchrist said.

Vaughan also pointed to the fact that there was no reserve day in the Guyana final. “The Indian supporters I spoke to agree that India have, probably on paper, the best team. They don't need to do anything. They can win the night match. They don't need to know that they are playing the semi-final in Guyana, where it rains and there was no reserve day, but why? I have read the tournament rules and it specifically mentions India. This shouldn't happen in a World Cup.”

ICC giving venue preference to top teams is nothing new

An ICC spokesperson has already explained the reason for not having a reserve day for the Guyana semi-final. Since it was a one-day game, the ICC could have used the extra 250 minutes (the same for the Trinidad semi-final and the Barbados final) on the same day. Asking players to come for a reserve day a day before the final was logistically a nightmare.

Vaughan and Gilchrist's second argument that India are the only team to play a full day or know their semifinal venue in advance is nothing new in World Cups. Seeding and the home side or the most interested team getting venue and time preference for their television audience has been going on since the 1992 World Cup, where hosts Australia got a favourable venue and match time. In fact, tournament co-hosts New Zealand would have had to play their semifinal away from home if their opponent was Australia.

A recent example of this is Pakistan's venue preference for the 2023 ODI World Cup. Had they qualified for the semi-finals, it would have been in Kolkata, even if it was against India.

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