The marquee T20 World Cup in October-November is set to be shifted to the UAE and Oman with the BCCI having internally intimated the ICC to go ahead with its preparation because of a tricky COVID-19 situation in India. While the UAE was once at all times the first back-up option, Oman’s capital Muscat has been added as the fourth venue, with the exception of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, for the tournament that will start in the final week of October.
“Yes, the BCCI, throughout the ICC board assembly, has formally asked for a four-week window to take a last call but, internally, they have got said that they want to retain the hosting rights and wouldn’t brain the tournament being held in UAE and Oman,” a senior board official, privy to ICC board developments, told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
He said that Muscat has been zeroed in specifically for the preliminary rounds of the 16-team competition, which will also allow the three UAE grounds to receive sufficient time to freshen up after 31 IPL games.
“Whether 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. For the time being, the first week can also be held in Oman,” he said.
A majority of the ICC board members imagine that India is making an attempt to bide time as they take inventory of the situation at a time when it is extremely difficult to foretell how things pan out in October-November.
“Whether you consider it virtually, India is now reporting around 120,000 plus cases which is near to one third of what was once being reported at the end of April and start of this month.
“But sitting on June 28, whether you say “yes” to holding the World T20 in India, how are you able to predict the health situation in October whether there’s a third wave,” the seasoned official asked.
The second one question is whether the BCCI is wary of resuming the eight-team IPL in September in India, how can it hold a 16-team event in the country inside a month’s time.
“Look, everyone including BCCI brass knows that monsoon isn’t a good enough reason and it is COVID-19, with nearly 2500 crore revenue riding on the tournament.
“In a 16-team event, whether there is one team that gets affected in bubble with a couple of cases, it would possibly not be like IPL. For weaker national teams, you will not get able replacements out of doors 14 or 15 men. There are teething issues,” an official of an associate nation, which is part of the tournament, said.
Another “elephant in the room” is how many in a foreign country players want to risk coming to India for the tournament whether the situation doesn’t enhance drastically.
“They would certainly come and play the IPL in the UAE and would be more than pleased to play the T20 World Cup over there.
“But one can also be rest assured that there would apprehensions when it comes to health safety with players’ families and their boards and the native cricket organization would give them an update on health threat perceptions. It would be easier said than done,” the official said.
Topics mentioned in this article