The board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided against taking a hurried call on postponing the T20 World Cup during a teleconference on Friday to discuss the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sport’s forthcoming global events.
With Australia’s Prime Minister closing down borders to non-citizens for the next six months, question marks will prevail over the tournament. It has already been made clear that the restrictions would only be lifted once it is “safe to do so”. The meet is scheduled for October-November.
Sourav Ganguly, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, made his debut as India’s representative at the ICC board meeting. There was speculation that former ICC chairman N. Srinivasan was keen to represent BCCI at the meeting. But with no clear directions from the Supreme Court on the age factor — Srinivasan is 70-plus — the Chennai strongman’s wish remained unfulfilled.
With all cricketing activities suspended across the spectrum, there are also question marks over the ongoing World Test Championship, which is likely to fall considerably behind schedule as fixtures continue to be postponed ahead of next summer’s planned Lord’s final.
Both the World Test Championship and World T20 are high on the list of priorities and the game’s governing body failed to arrive at a firm conclusion despite debating on issues relating to the current layoff.This teleconference was sort of an informal discussion between the member-countries after the ICC’s chief executives and board’s meetings this month had to be put off following the coronavirus pandemic. These meetings are now scheduled to tentatively take place in the middle of May.
The ICC’s five-day annual conference is also listed from July 17 in Johannesburg, though uncertainty remains over the venue. The elections are also due with chairman Shashank Manohar already making it clear that he wouldn’t seek an extension.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, it was decided that the “$23 million (Rs 160 crore approximately) due to BCCI from the ICC for tax deductions” for hosting the 2016 World T20 would now be referred to the ICC’s disputes resolution committee. The ICC deducted the money from BCCI’s share after the Indian government didn’t waive off taxes as promised.
The official broadcasters of ICC tournaments, Star TV, had deducted the taxes from their payments to the ICC. The governing body has also threatened to take away the hosting rights of 2023 World Cup and 2021 T20 World Cup if tax exemptions are not provided.
At the moment, the ICC is taking a wait and watch policy. “We have to wait till July to see the impact of the suspensions. As of now, only England’s Test series in Sri Lanka has been suspended. If more series get affected, we will have to consider other options,” the source said.
“These are unforeseen circumstances. No one knows what is going to happen. If it continues like this for another three/four months, a lot of changes will take place. We will have to explore a lot of options based on a lot of scenarios,” the source said.
The immediate concern is whether the West Indies’ three-match Test series in England in June will face the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. Pakistan are also supposed to tour England in July for three Tests.
ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “The ICC management will continue our contingency planning around ICC events and will also work with members to explore all options available to us based on a range of scenarios connected to the pandemic.”