Dubai: The suspense over the T20 World Cup cricket, scheduled to be held during October-November in Australia this year, was eventually lifted after months of speculation when the International Cricket Council (ICC) postponed it after a crucial meeting on Monday.
“At today’s meeting of the IBC Board (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC), windows for the next three ICC men’s events were also agreed to bring clarity to the calendar and give the sport the best possible opportunity over the next three years to recover from the disruption caused by COVID-19,’’ a statement from the ICC said.
The windows for the next three men’s events are: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 to be held between October-November 2021 with the final on November 14; ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 between October-November with the final on November 13 while the ICC Men’s 50-overs World Cup 2023 to be held in India October-November 2023 with the final on November 26. The statement, however, does not mention if the postponed edition of this year will actually be held next year or 2022, possibly leaving the options open between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA) to sort out the issue.
Incidentally, India are scheduled to host the 2021 edition of the World T20, a slot which Australia had been apparently eyeing in case of a postponement.
The postponement, however, opens up a window for the Indian cricket board to host the IPL 2020 with the UAE being their preferred choice as the tournament has to be shifted overseas in view of the critical situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic in India. None of the BCCI officials Gulf News reached out for comments were available on their phones.
“The IBC Board will also continue to evaluate the situation in relation to being able to stage the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand in February next year. In the meantime, planning for this event continues as scheduled,” the statement added.
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “We have undertaken a comprehensive and complex contingency planning exercise and through this process, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the sport.
“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.
“Throughout this process, we have worked closely with our key stakeholders including governments, members, broadcasters, partners and medical experts to enable us to reach a collective decision for the good of the game and our fans. I would like to thank everyone involved for their commitment to a safe return to cricket,” Sawhney said.
A final decision on the World T20 had been put on hold a number of times over June-July - though it seemed a forgone conclusion when Ehsan Mani, who heads the ICC’s Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee, made it clear sometime back that the hosting a T20 World Cup in the October-November window is practically impossible.
Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley echoed the sentiments when he said the biggest challenge was to get the players from so many teams into the country. “Our biggest challenge is getting 15 teams into the country. If I compare it with the prospect of a bilateral tour, you’re talking about bringing one team in and then playing individual matches. But the prospect of bringing 15 teams in and having six or seven teams in one city at the same time, it’s a much more complex exercise,” he had said.