Picture used for illustrative purpose only.
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
The International Cricket Council (ICC) finally put an end to the speculation and decided to postpone the Twenty20 World Cup in the wake of coronavirus on Monday.
The cancellation of the World Twenty20 will leave a window ajar for the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), which was to be held in April but was postponed indefinitely due to the virus.
However, the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was eyeing the same window to stage the cricketing extravaganza to avoid the heavy fiscal loss.
The decision to postpone the T20 WC was taken in an ICC meeting held in Dubai on Monday. The World Twenty20 was supposed to be held in Australia later this year in October-November. Australia had expressed their concerns for hosting the showpiece event amid travel ban due to pandemic.
The ICC was looking for a contingency plan and exploring the best possible options available to successfully stage the showpiece event.
After a thoughtful consideration the world’s cricket governing body, decided to postpone the event for a year. ICC cited health and safety of the players as main reason.
“The decision to postpone the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world,” ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said in a statement.
Not only the T20 World Cup was postponed but other events were also reshuffled to bring more clarity to the international cricketing calendar. Now the three World Cups – two Twenty20 and one 50-over – will be held in three consecutive years to streamline the international calendar.
The Twenty20 World Cup to be held next year has been pushed to 2022, making way for this year’s delayed edition of the event during the same window.
The men’s 50-over World Cup in 2023 has been pushed to October-November instead of the originally slated February-March window of the same year.
The hosts for the 2021 and 2022 World Cups have not been decided. In the original calendar, India was supposed to hold the 2021 edition but Australia had also expressed their wish to host the delayed 2020 edition next year to which BCCI had opposed. So, it remains to be decided which country will host which edition.
“Our members now have the clarity they need around event windows to enable them to reschedule lost bilateral and domestic cricket,” Sawhney added.
“Moving the Men’s Cricket World Cup to a later window is a critical element of this and gives us a better chance of maintaining the integrity of the qualification process.
“This additional time will be used to reschedule games that might be lost because of the pandemic ensuring qualification can be decided on the field of play,” Sawhney concluded.
The BCCI have also shown interest in staging the IPL in the Sept-October window. They have also expressed resentment over the delay by the ICC in deciding the fate of the now-cancelled T20 World Cup earlier as it created an unnecessary headache for them to announce the date for a delayed-IPL.
Rumours are rife that the IPL will be held outside India owing to the growing cases of coronavirus and lockdown in the country of one billion plus. Indian have already reported more than a million case of the virus as of now and still counting.
Both Sri Lanka and the UAE have thrown their hats in the ring for staging the extravaganza of the game. But the BCCI seems to be zeroing in on the UAE.
According to an IANS report, franchises have already been apprised by the Indian board about the UAE as the most likely destination. And they have started making travel plans to the country. However, it has not been made official as of now from either boards.
Mubashir Usmani, general secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), said: “Once again I am reiterating the fact that we have shown interest in hosting the IPL but we are still waiting for the confirmation from BCCI.”
The UAE had successfully hosted the 2014 edition of the IPL, when it was shifted outside the country in the wake of general elections.
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