The International Cricket Council (ICC) is expected to take another two-three weeks before it finally takes a decision on the T20 World Cup in Australia following assertions by two influential members on its board — Earl Eddings, Cricket Australia chairman, and Pakistan Cricket Board’s Ehsan Mani — that it wasn’t feasible to hold the tournament in October-November given the Covid-induced uncertainties.
It is also likely that the Asia Cup, scheduled from the first week of September, too will be called off because of the prevailing situation. Pakistan were supposed to host the event but decided to swap the rights with Sri Lanka. Pakistan in return will get to hold the 2022 edition.
“The logistical hurdles it poses and certain government restrictions will be tough to overcome. Sri Lanka as a venue may be relatively safe but you cannot risk anything under these circumstances.
“It wouldn’t be prudent to rush into it but rather wait for things to return to normality,” a source told The Telegraph, adding that chances of the tournament taking place this year “were remote”.
“As it is the players have been indoors for three months now. As of today, it will be a miracle if cricketers can return to training before August.
“According to the guidelines issued by the ICC, a phased approach should be taken to resume training activity to prevent injury to the players. That will not be possible before the Asia Cup,” the source said.
The ICC has suggested a minimum of “five-six-week preparation period” for T20Is, the last three weeks of which would involve match-intensity bowling. That would be almost impossible to meet for defending champions India before the Asia Cup.
“To regain match fitness after being out of action for so long isn’t easy. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will not take any risk. After all, president Sourav Ganguly knows what it takes to be in shape for a continental tournament.
“It’s not been the same with the Sri Lankans, who have been training for a fortnight now. Pakistan too have problems. They have already written to the England and Wales Cricket Board with a request to arrive there early next month as they had to scrap their camp at home after failing to find a bio-secure facility,” the source pointed out.
The executive board of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is to meet before the end of this month and a decision may be taken in this regard then.
Given the circumstances, the players may head to their respective IPL franchise camps once the decision to postpone the T20 World Cup and Asia Cup are made official.
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel has been pressing for a quick response from both the ICC and ACC since it will help in formalising the nitty-gritty of the money-spinning league. The BCCI is hoping to find a window to hold the IPL from the last week of September to early November, with the UAE hosting the first phase.
Should he remain Board chief beyond July, Sourav is likely to take over as president of the ACC during its annual conference since it is BCCI’s turn by rotation. Bangladesh’s Nazmul Hassan, who took charge in 2018, currently occupies the chair.