Cricket Australia has asked the International Cricket Council to postpone this year's men's Twenty20 World Cup for 12 months as the sport's global politics turned into a chapter out of a spy novel.
In a bizarre chain of events, a letter from CA chairman Earl Eddings for an ICC financial committee was leaked to Indian media, sparking the world governing body to launch a probe "to ensure the sanctity and confidentiality of board matters".
The issue meant the board of the ICC did not consider agenda items from its overnight teleconference, leaving the future of the T20 World Cup in limbo.
While the official line from organisers is the tournament will remain as scheduled in October and November, it is almost certain to be postponed. This would pave the way for the Indian Premier League, worth more than $500 million to the Indian board, to claim the window.
As reported by this masthead, next February and October have emerged as possible alternatives while ESPNcricinfo this week said the tournament could also be moved back to those months in 2022. CA, however, would prefer the tournament to be held next year.
"Australia has thankfully managed to 'flatten the (COVID) curve', meaning there is greater certainty of being able to play in Australia in 2021 (which is key to maintaining member distribution). This would give India another year to resolve any COVID-related problems."
The email was written in response to an ICC request on what dates would suit should this year's event be moved.
The ICC had been set to discuss this year's T20 World Cup overnight but that will now take place on June 10 due to concerns over the "issue of confidentiality".
"A number of board members had raised their concerns over this issue recently and felt it required immediate attention to ensure the sanctity and confidentiality of Board matters in line with the highest standards of governance," the ICC said in a statement.
"There was unanimous agreement to immediately initiate an independent investigation led by the ICC’s ethics officer and supported by global experts. The board will be updated on this by the ICC CEO at its next meeting on 10 June 2020."