T20 World Cup to Be Held in UAE
As per media reports member associations of the BCCI have received a communication from Indian cricket’s governing body that the T20 World Cup will be held in the UAE. However, hosting rights of the T20 World Cup will continue to be retained by the BCCI. The 16-team tournament is set to start on 17 October.
ICC Announcement Awaited
The IPL final, which will also be hosted in the UAE, is scheduled to be held two days earlier on 15th October. Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, has sent an email to the members stating that the BCCI had taken the decision after “several rounds of discussion internally.” In due course an announcement to the effect is expected to be made by the ICC.
Ganguly’s Email to Member Associations
According to the email received by the member associations from Ganguly, “It was not an easy decision and we mulled over it for months, constantly keeping an eye on the Covid-19 situation all along. However, with the second wave causing such devastation, the decision ultimately boiled down to the safety and well-being of the players and organisers. Although vaccination in the country is going at breakneck speed, there are reports of a third wave and different variants which we cannot ignore.”
Tournament Schedules yet to be Finalised
While the tournament schedules are yet to be ascertained, Oman and the UAE are expected to host the first round of the tournament which will involve teams divided into two groups. In the first round, 12 matches will be played by eight teams with each group sending its top two teams to the super 12, where they will be join the 8 top-ranked T20I teams. The super 12 stage of the competition, set to start on 24 October, will have six teams each in two groups.
Pandemic Disrupted Original Plans for T20 World Cup
The tournament was originally set to be hosted by Australia in 2020. But following the disruption of the cricket calendar by the pandemic, the tournament got postponed. The ICC decided that the T20 World Cup should be held in 2021 in India, while Australia would host it in 2022. After the IPL was brought to an abrupt end by the grim COVID-19 situation in India, doubts were cast on the feasibility of holding the T20 World Cup in India where travelling between the cities would expose the players to the spread of COVID-19. Nine venues had been shortlisted by the BCCI for the T20 World Cup. An ICC team was due to visit India in April to conduct an inspection of the venues. However, the visit was cancelled and the ICC gave the BCCI an extension of a month to announce its readiness to host the event.
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