After the Indian Premier League, the ICC World Twenty20 has been like a breath of fresh air. Sort of like escaping from Dante's Inferno (think Eyjafjallajökull with cheerleaders and DLF Maximums) and entering the Garden of Eden (with its Guyana wing being a rainforest).
Over the past two months, we've witnessed the IPL and all it's contrived excitement, crass commercialism and its (yet to be fully explored) off-field cronyism. The ICC's Caribbean escapade seems casual by comparison, and begs the question... is it really necessary?
The "World Twenty20" is not an official World Cup. The ICC is very careful to hang on to that title for the fifty-over competition, next scheduled for February-March 2011 and still the jewel in its crown (and, to a lesser and non-competing extent, for the Women's World Cup and Under-19 World Cup). Nor, it seems, is the "World Twenty20" to be regarded as a World Championship. It is, therefore, just a tournament, albeit one with a seeding system for its best teams and qualification rounds to make up the numbers.
If the game of cricket needs to be global, then the International Cricket Council needs to continue to stage tournaments such as this and the otherwise forgettable Champions Trophy. This is where they make their money - from broadcast rights, sponsorship and other lucrative marketing deals.
The reason for being can, indeed, be encapsulated in one word - Afghanistan. There would be no competitive Afghan team in international cricket if the ICC did not have the resources to set up an intricate, multi-layered World Cricket League structure. For the Afghan team, it gave the opportunity to raise a national team from next to nothing, through the ranks from Division Five of the League, through to Division One, scoring official One-Day International and four-day first-class status and almost a 2011 World Cup berth.