Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) plans to do a wait-and-watch till August to decide if the T20 World Cup can go ahead as scheduled in Australia in October-November or has to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 16-nation showpiece, to be held after a hugely successful edition in 2016 in India, is scheduled to be held from October 18 to November 15 this year.
The board of directors of the world governing body will meet on May 28 for another video conference, but it’s very unlikely that any drastic decision of cancellation will be taken in it. ‘‘As of now, everything is going on as per schedule. The board will be reviewing the situation with updates from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) in Australia about the ground realities there while they will also be discussing the contingency plans in view of the current status of the pandemic since their last meeting on April 23,’’ informed sources told Gulf News.
While the nature of contingency plans will certainly zero in on the possibility of playing behind closed doors, the option of cancelling or re-jigging the dates of the marquee event is a great possibility as they will be looking at the bigger picture of reworking the Future Tours Programme (FTP) as all international cricket had been on pause mode from March till at least June. Any cancellation of postponement of the World T20 will, on the flipside, open up an unexpected window for the Indian Premier League - the richest franchise league which has been postponed ‘indefinitely’ now.
“The BCCI is looking at a big revenue loss. In case the IPL does not take place, the loss would be close to 40 billion rupees ($530 million), or even more,” said BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal said on Tuesday.
Obviously we’re praying for it to go ahead but we’ve just got to play what’s in front of us. Having teams come from all over the world is going to be a logistical nightmare
The thinking in the corridors of ICC, it is learnt, is that there is still time as any cancellation or change of dates will entail a huge expenditure on part of all the stakeholders. The Australian authorities are looking to keep the borders closed for another three to four months - which may make for an easing of restrictions from September - but a major worry lies on fine-tuning the travel plans of 16 teams from different parts of the world with the effects of the pandemic still raging in most of the major cricket-playing nations.
David Warner, a former vice-captain of Australia and one of their leading batsmen, echoed similar concerns when he said in an Instagram chat few days back: “The ICC World Cup will not go ahead here by the looks of it. It will be difficult to get everyone (16 teams) together,” and he is not the only cricketer who is thinking on these lines. “Obviously we’re praying for it to go ahead but we’ve just got to play what’s in front of us. Having teams come from all over the world is going to be a logistical nightmare,'' chipped in Chris Lynn.
Any foreign travel, at least for this year, is certain to be followed by a two-week period of self quarantine.
The ICC board meeting, which will have the medical board, is also expected to rope in members of the cricket committee to take up the concerns over the use of saliva to keep the shine on the ball. The issue had been gathering momentum with suggestions from some quarters to allow the use of external objects to polish the ball - which had been a ‘crime’ in cricket so far.