ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 is all set to shift base from India to the UAE with the BCCI attesting to the fact that the participating teams won’t feel secure due to an impending wave of COVID-19 expected to loom large around that time. The event was originally scheduled to be played in the months of October and November in India. The schedule hasn’t been released yet.
While the final verdict is yet to be delivered in a month’s time, this development comes on the back of cancellation of the Indian T20 League due to multiple COVID-19 cases inside the bio-bubble. It is understood that the BCCI is apprehensive about going ahead with the 16-team tournament as originally planned.
As per PTI, the mega event’s shift to the UAE has been more or less finalised after recent discussions between the BCCI officials and the decision-makers in the central government, with the dates not being finalised yet.
“The suspension of the Indian T20 League within four weeks is an indicator that it's not really safe to host a global event of that magnitude at a time when the country is fighting its worst health crisis in the last 70 years," a senior BCCI source quoted on the conditions of anonymity to PTI.
He added, "There is a chance of a third wave hitting the Indian shores in November. So while BCCI will remain the hosts, the tournament will probably shift to the UAE”.
The situation in India has worsened over the past few weeks where over 3 lakh new cases have been reported for many days and the ICC is unlikely to risk the safety of international teams with most of the member boards visibly flustered.
"You can be rest assured that most of the top nations wouldn't like to tour India within the next six months unless the situation comes to normalcy. The players and their families would be very wary to travel if they are in the middle of another surge”.
"So expect BCCI to agree with shifting of the tournament to UAE," another source also chipped in.
A major reason cited for the tournament to be held in the UAE is that it can be limited to three grounds - Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, thereby mitigating the risk of air travel.
A final decision is awaited until the ICC meeting in June. However, continuing with the tournament in India seems to be a dangerous proposition.
Featured photo: AFP / Ishara S. Kodikara