"Very good chance T20 World Cup is going to be shifted to next year" - Graeme Smith

The showpiece event is due to be played from October 18 to November 15 in Australia.

T20 World Cup might be shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic | GettyCricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket, Graeme Smith, reckons there is a "very good chance" that the ICC will be shifting the T20 World Cup to next year because of the logistical challenges faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The flagship event is due to be played in Australia from October 18 to November 15. However, given the lockdown in place and the level of uncertainty over when things might return to normalcy, it seems highly unlikely that the tournament will be happening on time. 

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For South Africa, already the preparations for the T20 World Cup have gone for a toss, with its series against West Indies (away) and India (home) looking in major doubt. 

"The hope was that we would have 14 T20 games before the World Cup in October and that's not going to happen anymore. There is a very good chance it's going to be shifted into the beginning of next year, so we'll have to consistently assess," Sport24 quoted Smith as saying.

"There are so many things up in the air, so the key is just to be ready. We are consistently looking at strategies for tours, what the FTP (Future Tours Programme) looks like, what our focus is going to be over the next period of time," he added.

Lack of game time will also create an issue with regards to the selection of players. 

"We'll have to assess players on form, as was always going to be the case. When that event comes around, we will look at what the best squad is that we could possibly send to give us an opportunity to win the trophy," reiterated Smith. 

"I think the key at the moment, across the board from players to coaches and operational staff, is to try and make sure that we're ready for when the opportunity arises to play cricket again and then we'll have to assess players quickly."

From the game's global economics point of view, there shouldn't be much financial impact of shifting the T20 World Cup, given the tournament was sold as part of a package of events to the Indian broadcaster, Star Sports, for the FTP cycle running till 2023. 

"The T20 World Cups gets sold and the money is essentially distributed to the members," said CSA CEO Jacques Faul. 

"I don't think a delay in the tournament would lead to a cut of that funding. As long as it takes place within the same financial year, then it should be fine. If it doesn't take place or if it is delayed for a longer period, then it would have an impact," he added. 

(Inputs from Sport24)


By Kashish Chadha - 22 May, 2020

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