Short window for 2025 Champions Trophy may lead to change in format

With Pakistan hosting, India is unlikely to play there, potentially leading to a hybrid model, where teams shuttle between Pakistan and the UAE, facing a tight schedule that may make the ODI format impractical

Short window for 2025 Champions Trophy may lead to change in format PHOTO: AFP

The format of the 2025 Champions Trophy, scheduled to be hosted by Pakistan, may shift from ODIs to T20Is.

Last month, discussions took place at the ICC headquarters in Dubai among officials and stakeholders, including broadcaster Disney Star, about the future of the Champions Trophy, reported CricBuzz.

A decision on whether it should be in the 50-over or 20-over format was deferred, with detailed pros and cons of each format being examined. Key data showed a decline of over 20% in ODI viewership since the 2019 World Cup.

Broadcasters prefer ODIs for more advertising inventory, but ad slots are less likely to sell out, and the cost per spot is lower compared to T20s.

The case for ODI support stems from the success of last year's World Cup. Additionally, proponents argue that the upcoming Champions Trophy in Pakistan, scheduled for mid-February to early March 2025, is tied to preparations for the 2027 World Cup in South Africa.

However, a major challenge for organizers is the 17-18 day window allocated for the eight-team Champions Trophy. The tournament is planned to start on a Friday near mid-February, with the final slated for the third Sunday after the start. With Pakistan as the host, it is improbable that India will participate in matches within Pakistan, potentially leading to a hybrid model similar to last year's Asia Cup. In this model, teams, excluding India, may need to travel between Pakistan and the UAE.

The tight schedule may require teams to play two matches within three days while shuttling between the UAE and Pakistan, making the 100-over format impractical and presenting logistical and operational challenges.

The ICC has sold rights for the event as a one-day competition, so changing the format requires discussions with stakeholders, especially broadcasters funding USD 3 billion for the current four-year cycle. Although ICC officials lean towards keeping the 50-over format, ongoing debates and pressures suggest the issue is far from resolved.