BCCI internally intimates ICC to shift T20 World Cup 2021 out of India: Report

BCCI has time till June 28 to take a formal call on the hosting of T20 World Cup.

UAE and Oman are likely to host the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 | ICC/TwitterConsidering the severe health crisis posed by the second COVID-19 wave in India, it has become immensely challenging to stage the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 in the country, slated to be held in October-November.

While the BCCI has time till June 28 to take a call on the hosting of T20 World Cup, a report published in PTI claims that the Indian board has internally intimated the ICC to go ahead with its preparation in UAE and Oman due to a tricky COVID-19 situation in India.

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Notably, UAE was always the first back-up option and Oman's capital Muscat has now been added as the fourth venue for the global event.

"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 BCCI official, privy to ICC board developments, told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

He said that Muscat has been shortlisted particularly for the preliminary rounds of the 16-team competition, which will allow UAE’s three grounds in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah to freshen up after the remainder of IPL 2021.

"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," he said.

According to the report, most of the ICC board members believe that India is trying to bide time as it is very difficult to predict how things will pan out in October-November.

"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 official asked.

The second question is if the BCCI is wary of conducting the remaining 31 games of IPL 2021 in India in September, how can it organise a 16-team event in the country within a month's time.

"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.

"In a 16-team event, if there is one team that gets affected in bubble with multiple cases, it won't be like 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, told PTI.

Another cause of concern is how many overseas players would like to come to India for the 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.

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 05 Jun, 2021

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