There has never been a better time to be a cricket fan. Gone are the days when you had to wait months on end to see your favorite team in action. The international calendar is generally packed, with little time between series, and even with the pandemic disrupting the action there has been a genuine push to get the action going in different parts of the world.
Here’s a look at the pick of the action:
Cricket World Cup
The 50-over International Cricket Council World Cup is at the top of the heap as far as tournaments goes. Played every four years among the best teams in the world, this is the tournament every player dreams of winning. The last edition was won in exciting fashion at home by England, when they edged out New Zealand in a thriller.
Twenty20 World Cup
Known initially as the ICC World Twenty20, the Twenty20 World Cup has gained significance since the proliferation of the shortest format of the game, perfect for those who like watching live cricket. Usually played every two years, the current edition, which would have been held in Australia in October 2020, has been postponed to 2021. West Indies are the current champions in this format.
Indian Premier League
The mother of all franchise-based leagues, this two-month extravaganza gets top billing because it is the only league to feature the best Indian players, in addition to the top players from around the world. A two-month affair in which blockbuster games are played between eight of the richest cricket franchises in the world, the league is in its 13th year.
Big Bash League
The Australian tournament comes second to the IPL, but in terms of competition, quality of play, and cracking venues, it is a must-watch. Contested by eight teams, the most successful of which have been the Perth Scorchers, who have won three times, the current champions are the Sydney Sixers, who were also triumphant in the inaugural season in 2011-12.
Caribbean Premier League
With the islands of the West Indies being largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Caribbean Premier League was one of the tournaments to go ahead with minimal disruption. The only real change was that all matches were played in one city, Port of Spain, which perhaps played a part in the Trinidad and Tobago Knight Riders lifting the trophy.
Pakistan Super League
With international cricket not being played in Pakistan, for the best part, due to security concerns, the Pakistan Super League plays a major role in keeping high-level cricket alive in the country. Players from around the world travel to Pakistan to play in the six-team tournament. The Quetta Gladiators not only won the 2019 edition, their all-rounder Shane Watson walked away with the player of the tournament award.
ICC Champions League
A short, sharp tournament designed to be like a mini-World Cup, this event has successfully taken the game to parts of the world where it was not yet established. Over the years it has changed in format and intention multiple times, but the lure of getting only the very best teams of the 50-over format to play in a short period of time over one or two venues makes this big hit with fans. Some might say that this format has to be reinvented. We love the ICC Champions League and think, it should keep its current format.
Bangladesh Premier League
Bangladesh’s cricketers have long felt that they did not get the respect they deserved outside of their country. But, as the team has grown stronger, the results gotten better, especially in white ball cricket, this is changing. The establishment of the Bangladesh Premier League certainly helped matters in this case, especially with a large domestic population being hungry to watch their stars in action.
Mzansi Super League
The youngest of the franchise-based Twenty20 leagues, South Africa’s Mzansi Super League was critical to the region when it began in 2018. Played between six teams and broadcast globally, the league was just about finding its feet, Paarl Rocks winning the first edition when the pandemic forced the postponement of the latest edition of the tournament.
Shpageeza Cricket League
One of cricket’s most exciting new geographies is Afghanistan, with players from the region taking part in all major T20 leagues around the world. To that end, the Shpageeza Cricket League, run by the Afghanistan Cricket Board in Kabul is a platform for talent to take their first steps towards a bigger thing