The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been in talks with other cricket boards, mainly the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) in order for hosting the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021, after it was reported that due to the COVID-19 situation in India, the tournament needed to move out of the country.
It was almost confirmed that the UAE will hold the mega ICC event with the BCCI playing hosts. But as per ANI reports, Sri Lanka has emerged as a dark horse for the T20 World Cup venue, with BCCI and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) holding talks.
"See, there is no denying the fact that BCCI and ECB officials have been having discussions on taking the showpiece event to UAE with an eye on the COVID-19 situation in India.
But, what also needs to be kept in mind here is that hosting the IPL would mean quite a few games, not to forget other tournaments or matches that might be held in some of the venues and tired wickets by the time of the World Cup,” a source privy to the information told ANI.
“Keeping the playing conditions in mind, there have been some talks with SLC officials and just basic discussions, to be honest. Too early to get into the details, but we still have some time before we need to get back to the ICC to inform them on the situation as the BCCI will continue to have the hosting rights even if it is played outside India," the source explained.
While the UAE has three venues- Sharjah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka has more options available with Colombo alone having three international stadiums. The SLC had previously expressed interest in holding the remainder of the IPL 2021 matches in the September-October window.
"See, these are tough times and with COVID-19 it is an ever-changing situation. So, don't think the host broadcasters would mind backing BCCI if they look at Sri Lanka as an option to host the showpiece event. Keeping options open is not a bad thing," the source said.
"First and foremost, the BCCI needs to submit the tax exemption guarantee by June 15 and things will start rolling one after the other with the Indian board also needing to inform the ICC by June 28 about the position with regards to hosting the event in the country," the source pointed.
The ICC Board had also requested management focus on its planning efforts for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 on the event being staged in the UAE with the possibility of including another venue in the Middle East.