Defining moment: West Indies ICC World T20 hero Carlos Brathwaite (right) erupts after taking his team over the line in 2016 final. Image Credit: PTI file

Kolkata: A two-month countdown to the Men’s T20 World Cup cricket, scheduled in the UAE and Oman, began with a virtual tour of the winners’ trophy on Thursday. The virtual tour will be driven around by Nissan, one of the partners of International Cricket Council (ICC).

The World T20, held after a gap of five years (last year’s edition in Australia had to be postponed due to the pandemic) since that explosive final between the West Indies and England, is expected to garner huge eyeballs. In a welcome gesture, the ICC has chosen Carlos Brathwaite, the giant Caribbean star who swung the 2016 final for them at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, with four consecutive sixes in the last over off Ben Stokes against England, to launch the tour.

“This trophy brings back memories of one of the best nights of my life and so it gives me great joy to be associated with this unique trophy tour, where fans get to take it to places it has never been. Imagine taking it to the Eiffel Tower? Or the Taj Mahal? I am personally looking forward to all the exciting content fans are going to create and would encourage everyone to channel their inner creativity and get involved,” Brathwaite said in a press release.

The disruption caused to the world by the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the globe-trotting Trophy Tour was not feasible. Instead, ICC urges cricket fans to take the trophy to more cricket playing nations than ever before.

“The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Trophy can be accessed virtually through a 3D augmented reality filter, housed on the official T20 World Cup Facebook and Instagram pages. Through this filter, fans are encouraged to get creative and take control of the tour, taking the trophy wherever they would like to. This could be their backyard, local cricket club or even a popular landmark in their city. The best of the fan-generated content will be collated and celebrated weekly on the T20 World Cup’s social media channels where fans can also win signed event merchandise,” the ICC said as part of their interactive plan.

The all-rounder recited a poem written by Casey Bailey, a Birmingham-based poet - which capture the essence of T20 cricket which lies in unpredictability - and how it helped someone like Brathwaite realise his childhood dream.

Fans can track and stay up to date with the tour’s journey through the Trophy Tour section of the #T20WorldCup website, which will serve as a one-stop destination for all the content generated by fans and the ICC throughout the duration of the Trophy Tour.

Following the trophy’s virtual journey, the ICC will also launch a new weekly show, featuring the 16 teams participating in the #T20WorldCup, titled: Around the Wicket and will be available to view across the ICC’s digital and social media channels. The light-hearted show will be hosted by Indian comedian and digital content creator Danish Sait. Around the Wicket will also invite fans to get involved and ask questions to some of their favourite T20 cricketers.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 schedule, T20 World Cup 2021 fixtures
Image Credit: Twitter/@ICC