England’s Twenty20 World Cup matches next year are set to all be held in the West Indies with no matches in the United States, which is co-hosting the event.
The US is staging matches in a global cricket event for the first time, as part of attempts to grow the game in the country. But while the US will host the clash between India and Pakistan, with the fixture expected to be played in Eisenhower Park 30 miles east of Manhattan, the country will not stage any games of defending champions England.
Twenty nations will appear in the enlarged event, with Canada, Uganda and the US all featuring for the first time in a T20 World Cup. A desire to keep travel manageable for players and travelling supporters means that only 10 of the participating nations are expected to play matches in the US.
England’s four matches in their pool stage are likely to be played in Antigua, Barbados and St Lucia, which are three popular destinations for English travelling fans.
Of the four groups in the opening stage, one is likely to be played exclusively in the US, with two played only in the Caribbean and another split between the two.
The groups for the tournament, which is played from June 4-30, have yet to be announced. As has been the case at every men’s ICC global event since 2013, India and Pakistan will be drawn together, guaranteeing that the sport’s most lucrative fixture is played. There has long been a desire for these teams to play group games in the US, to tap into interest among the South Asian diaspora.
After the group stage, the tournament will then advance to the Super Eight stage, which features two pools of four, with the top two in each clashing in the semi-finals. The vast majority, or even all, of matches from the Super Eight onwards will be played in West Indies. At this stage, it is expected that 16 of the 55 games in the tournament will be played in the US.
Grand Prairie in Dallas, Broward County in Florida and Nassau County in New York - where Eisenhower Park is located - have already been confirmed as the three American venues for the tournament.
The T20 World Cup extends the attempts to develop cricket in the US. Major League Cricket, a franchise Twenty20 competition, launched this year. Cricket has also been confirmed as a sport in the 2028 Olympics, in Los Angeles - the first time that the sport has been included in the Games since 1900.
The draw for the Super Eight stage is set to pair teams together based on their pre-tournament seedings, rather than their performance in the first stage. For instance, if England - who are ranked second, so would be among the first seeds - came second in the first group stage, they would still qualify for the same Super Eight group as predicted by their seeding.
In this scenario, English fans could make plans to attend Super Eight matches in advance of the competition, rather than end up seeing different teams if England qualified in second place. While there could be concerns about the impact on the integrity of the competition, the rule is designed to help travelling fans to make plans in advance.