By Sachin David
The International Cricket Council officially launched the Marquee event of the shortest format of cricket the World Twenty20 tournament that is to be played on Sri Lankan soil in the year 2012.
The tournament will be played from 18 September 2012 to 7 October 2012. The event will see the best Men’s teams in World Cricket along with the best Women’s teams in World Cricket vying for the coveted title of World Twenty20 Champions. The Women’s event is being hosted parallel to the Men’s event for the third time next year with the Ladies playing in the last two tournaments in England and the Caribbean. The Men’s tournament will be for the fourth time since its inception in 2007 in South Africa. This fiasco was to be played every other year since 2007 but was played a year ahead of plan in 2010 because of the 50 over world cup in 2011.
India was the first winners of the tournament in 2007 when they beat their archrivals Pakistan in the final at the Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg. Two years later Pakistan redeemed themselves when they beat Sri Lanka at the home of cricket the Lords Stadium in England. The English then won their first world stage tournament in cricket in the 2010 event when they beat the mighty Australia in the final in the Caribbean.
In the Women’s tournament initiated in 2009 the hosts England won it when they beat New Zealand at Lords to win the first ever Women’s T20 World Cup. The next year Australia took the title when they beat their rival neighbours New Zealand.
About ICC Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 — 12 International, teams will take part in the Men’s tournament with the regular 10 full members of the ICC and 2 associate members who will have to qualify for the tournament. In the Women’s group of the tournament their will be eight teams taking part.
The qualifying teams for the Men’s tournament will have to play the World Qualifiers in the early part of 2012. Sixteen associate teams will get the opportunity to compete for the two qualifying spots.
The Men’s tournament will take place at the Pallakele International Stadium in Kandy, the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota and the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The Women’s tournament will take place at the Galle International Stadium in Galle with the Semi Finals and Finals to take place on the same days as the Men’s tournament in Colombo.
The ICC unveiled the two trophies and the official logo for the tournament last evening at the Intercontinental hotel.
The Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Upali Dharmadasa stated that Sri Lanka is proud to gave been given the responsibility if hosting the 2012 T20 World cup. He went on to thank the ICC for trusting the Sri Lankan Cricket Board with such a task. Dharmadasa continuing said, “This event will create a platform for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Hambantota in 2018”. “I take this opportunity to invite cricket fans from around the world to come to Sri Lanka for this Gala event and witness the beauty of our Nation,” concluded Dharmadasa.
Haroon Logart the Chief Executive of the ICC stated that the T20 format has gone from being a simple way of enjoying the game and passing time to what is now a very serious and competitive sport. He also went on to say, “We are now prepared to have a world class tournament with the Women’s tournament and the Men’s tournament running parallel.
Shashikala Siriwardene the skipper of the Sri Lanka women’s team stated that her side was currently focussing on the 50 over world cup but will soon get into preparation for the T20 tournament. She also stated, “T20 is a great game to play and to play in parallel to the Men’s tournament is very encouraging for us girls. It gives us great exposure and soon we can grow Women’s cricket to the same level as the Men’s”
Kumar Sangakkara the former skipper of the Sri Lanka men’s team was also present at the event representing the cricket team. He stated, “T20 has brought a lot of excitement to the game and it has proved it is here to stay, it showcases the best as most unusual features of cricket”. Speaking about what differences, Sri Lanka has in comparison to the other countries Sangakkara stated “We produce a variety of cricketers with a lot of attitude and flair. We have very unorthodox players who can create anything out of nothing”.
In conclusion, the ICC unveiled the logo of the T20 world cup 2012 with a very animated audio visuals display. The logo entitled the “Modern Spin” incorporates and amalgamates the rounded look of Sinhala scripts. The letter ‘T’ leading into the ‘2’ forms a bowler and the ‘0’ incorporates the cricket ball. The strong reds and oranges seen in nature, Sri Lankan culture and arts inspire the colours.
The twelve teams have been divided into four groups with England, India and Qualifier 2 in-group ‘A’, Australia, West Indies and Qualifier 1 in Group ‘B’, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe in group ‘C’ and Pakistan, New Zealand and Bangladesh making up group ‘D’
In the Women’s tournament, there will be two groups of four teams each with Australia, India and England going in with the 1st qualifier in group ‘A’ and New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Qualifier 2 making up group ‘B’