ICC T20 World Cup 2021: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) now looks fully convinced to move the all-important ICC T20 World Cup 2021 out of India due to persisting challenging situations in the country. The BCCI has informed the global body about the same.
The Indian board has internally intimated the ICC to go ahead with their preparations for the World Cup.
Originally three backup venues – Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai – were kept under the hammer, Oman’s capital Muscat has been the latest addition to the list of backup venues.
“Yes, the BCCI, during the ICC board meeting, has formally asked for a four-week window to take a final call but, internally, they have said that they would like to keep the hosting rights and wouldn’t mind the tournament being held in UAE and Oman,” a senior board official, privy to ICC board developments, told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
Oman to host initial T20 World Cup games:
The source further said that Oman’s capital Muscat is kept for the initial stages of the T20 World Cup which will be a 16-teams affair. Hosting games in Muscat will help the three venues in the UAE to relax a bit and freshen up after 31 IPL games.
As per the rules, the BCCI were to hand over all venues of the UAE to ICC by October 1 for the further preparations of the T20 World Cup, however, due to the suspended IPL 2021, the venues will get free only after 8th October.
It is learnt that the BCCI has unofficially taken the permission to use the grounds and that is why Oman is also brought to the table as a backup option.
“If IPL finishes by October 10, then the UAE leg of World T20 can start off in November which would give three weeks’ time to the pitches to be spruced up for the global event. In the meanwhile, the first week can be held in Oman,” the source said.
Oman, earlier this year got clearance from the ICC to stage international T20Is, ODIs and Test games with all the cricketing infrastructure in place.
Oman Cricket chief Pankaj Khimji is also keen on hosting the T20 World Cup games if given the opportunity by BCCI and the ICC.
“The BCCI and the ICC need to take a call first on this issue. We would be delighted to be a potential venue for the World Cup,” Oman Cricket chief Pankaj Khimji told TOI on Friday.
If BCCI can’t stage IPL 2021 in India, how can they host the 16-teams World Cup?
The ICC officials believe that there is nothing to be predicted about the prevailing situation in India. The country is reporting in excess of 120,000 covid positive cases as of now and for future situations, no one can take responsibility.
“If you think about it practically, India is now reporting around 120,000 plus cases which is close to one third of what was being reported at the end of April and start of this month.
“But sitting on June 28, if you say “yes” to holding the World T20 in India, how can you predict the health situation in October if there is a third wave,” the seasoned official asked.
The officials further questioned that if the BCCI can’t host the eight teams affair IPL in India during September-October then how can they host the 16-teams competition in just one month’s time.
The Indian board on 29th May announced that the remainder of the Vivo IPL 2021 will be held in the UAE during the month of September-October. BCCI secretary Jay Shah later said that the move to shift the tournament is taken due to the monsoon in India during the window of IPL, which does not look a satisfactory reason for most of the ICC officials, who believe that Covid is the possible reason.
“Look, everyone including BCCI brass knows that monsoon is not a good enough reason and it is COVID-19, with almost 2500 crore revenue riding on the tournament.
Players Safety a Concern:
“In a 16-team event, if there is one team that gets affected in bubble with multiple cases, it won’t be like the IPL. For weaker national teams, you won’t get ready replacements outside 14 or 15 men. There are teething issues,” an official of an associate nation, which is a part of the tournament, said.
The Associate nation representative further questioned the overseas player’s safety. Due to terrifying situations in the country, not even a single overseas player would be happy to come to India and play the tournament. It will be mentally tiring for them as well as for the management.
The officials mulled that UAE will be a wiser option with all overseas players happy to land there to play IPL 2021 as well as the subsequent ICC T20 World Cup.
“They would certainly come and play the IPL in the UAE and would be more than happy to play the T20 World Cup over there.
“But one can be rest assured that there would apprehensions with regards to health safety with players’ families and their boards and the local cricket association would give them an update on health threat perceptions. It would be easier said than done,” the official said.
The 2021 T20 World Cup will begin somewhere during the window of October-November with 16 teams fighting hard for the title.
The schedule for the World Cup will be soon revealed by the ICC. The possible dates will be after 28th June which is the final date for BCCI to inform ICC whether they can stage the ICC event in India or they want to shift it to the UAE.