Covid: Once-bitten BCCI hints at UAE T20 Cup
It’s almost certain now that the T20 World Cup will be moved to the UAE because of the pandemic in India.
The tournament will be held in October-November and the BCCI had been set a deadline of June 28 by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to decide whether they would be able to host the event.
“Due to the Covid situation in the country, we may shift the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled in India to UAE. Currently, we are monitoring the situation closely. Health and safety of players are paramount for us. We will take the final call soon,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah was quoted as saying on Prasar Bharati’s Twitter handle.
Even if the tournament is shifted to the UAE, the BCCI will continue to remain the hosts. The preliminary phase of the tournament is expected in Oman and two other grounds in the UAE. The Super 12 or the main phase, comprising 30 matches besides the semi-finals and the final, will be held in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
The preliminary round will include eight teams — Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia, Oman and Papua New Guinea. Four will qualify for the Super 12.
The BCCI had been keen on hosting the tournament in India given the improving Covid-19 situation in the country. But the onset of the Delta plus variant and the threat it poses in the coming months has forced the BCCI to not take any risk. The BCCI is likely to inform the ICC of its decision shortly.
“We don’t want a repeat of an IPL-like situation. There’s also the tax exemption issue for which we haven’t got any assurances from the finance ministry so far. Travelling and quarantine issues will also be simpler if it is held in the UAE,” sources told The Telegraph.
There’s also the players’ participation issue. Several cricketers had voiced apprehensions about returning to India after their harrowing experience during the IPL.
The remaining 31 matches of the IPL is also likely to be held in the UAE from September 19. If the T20 World Cup is held in the UAE, most countries, including England and Australia, could allow their players to participate in the IPL since it would provide adequate practice ahead of the global event.