Mumbai: India is scheduled to host the T20 World Cup from October 18 to November 15 this year.
But with the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc in the country, the question doing the rounds is whether the mega ICC event can be staged in India.
The 14th edition of IPL is currently underway in front of empty stadiums, with players and officials being in bio-secure bubbles. But the T20 World Cup, featuring 16 teams, is 5-and-a-half months away, and there is enough time to reschedule the tournament and plan accordingly.
If the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) does need an alternate venue, it won’t have to look beyond the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It may be recalled that the UAE had successfully staged last year’s delayed IPL after the T20 league had to be postponed due to the pandemic in late March 2020.
“It’s too early to say what will happen… But the contingency plan is that it would go to UAE with the hosting rights staying with BCCI,” BCCI GM and T20 World Cup director Dhiraj Malhotra was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
The BCCI has shortlisted nine venues — Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Dharamsala, Ahmedabad and Lucknow – to host World Cup games. But the tsunami of daily new infections and growing number of fatalities have resulted in a national emergency-like situation in India. A staggering 3.86 lakh new cases and 3,645 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
The BCCI has no option but to wait and watch. The health situation has to improve significantly and travel bans imposed by many countries have to be lifted before the BCCI can even think of discussing the T20 World Cup.