The Indian cricket board’s (BCCI) apex council for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 has selected nine venues to host the month-long tournament scheduled to be held in India during October-November. 

The venues are Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Dharamsala, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

BCCI’s initial plan was to have six venues for the ICC tournament as was the case during the 2016 edition of the T20 World Cup held in India. However, the plan had to be changed after several state units showed interest in hosting the matches, during an informal meet prior to the Indian T20 League 2021.

Nagpur and Mohali, which hosted matches in 2016, have been excluded. Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Lucknow will be first-time hosts for the tournament. The ICC T20 World Cup 2021 final will be held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the council decided on Friday.

"The nine venues have been informed and it was again discussed that preparations should continue for the showpiece event with an eye on the COVID-19 situation and a call will only be taken closer to the event,” a BCCI source told ANI.

The ICC T20 World Cup was scheduled to be held in Australia last year before the pandemic postponed it to 2021. India was then decided as the new host country. 

However, with COVID-19 cases escalating in India recently, the world cricket body (International Cricket Council) will be cautious about approving nine venues.

With 16 teams participating in the tournament, more venues would mean frequent travel and setting up bio-bubbles. Fewer venues, on the other hand, will not only be safer but also cost-effective.

It has also been reported that the BCCI has a plan B for the ICC if the coronavirus situation in India doesn't improve. The alternate plan will have not more than four venues, which are yet to be decided.

Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Jewel Samad