Dubai: While all eyes of the cricketing fraternity will be glued to the key International Cricket Council (ICC) Board meeting on Wednesday, which may take a final call on the fate of the T20 World Cup in Australia, reassuring words of the Australian sports minister may act as a timely shot in the arm for the governing body.
While the ICC had been adopting a wait-and-watch policy over the status of COVID-19 pandemic before postponing the showpiece in all likelihood, they had deferred any decision on it - alongwith all other items on the agenda - from their last meeting on May 28 to another round of video conference on Wednesday.
In an interview with an Indian daily, the Australian sports minister, Richard Colbeck, said he believed that a World Cup Down Under could still be possible with restrictions on spectator numbers. ‘‘As Australia’s sports minister, I join with cricket fans around Australia in looking forward to welcoming the Indian squad ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The federal government, along with the International Cricket Council and state governments continue to work towards ensuring the event proceeds,’’ Colbeck said.
‘‘We are confident the T20 World Cup will be a thrilling showdown watched by a global audience – but we remain committed to the implementation and support of measures to keep players and spectators safe.
‘‘Cricket Australia and the ICC T20 World Cup Local Organising Committee are consulting with the relevant Australian government agencies in the development of their biosecurity plan to support the resumption of professional cricket in Australia. This includes arrangements for the arrival of international teams, accommodation, training environments and venue logistics,’’ the minister added.
While Australia had been one of the few countries globally who appear well poised to flatten the curve of the virus, apprehensions over the feasibility of 15 teams flying out there and observing the quarantine procedure - not to speak of an estimated influx of another 5000-7000 people as well as the health concern of the fans - had raised question marks over their ability to host the event on schedule. The powerful lobby of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which will be represented by president Sourav Ganguly in the Board meeting, will be following the proceedings carefully as any postponement in the dates of World T20 will open up the window for the much sought-after Indian Premier League.
The other contentious item on the agenda will be the election process of the next ICC chairperson as Shashank Manohar, the current incumbent, has already stated that he is not seeking an extension and there are growing calls for Ganguly to head the cricketing body.
The pandemic has also thrown all international cricket in disarray and the ICC needs to have to re-visit the FTP accordingly.
What’s on the agenda
* Decision on T20 World Cup
* Election process for ICC chairman
* Future Tours Programme
* Tax issues with BCCI
* ICC CEO’s submission of the report on confidentiality issue