Australian Sports Minister confident of hosting T20 World Cup in October

In this interview with Sportstar, the Australian government sports minister, Richard Colbeck, believes that a World Cup Down Under could still be possible, with restrictions on spectator numbers.

The Australian Sports Minister Colbeck believes that a World Cup Down Under could still be possible, with restrictions on spectator numbers. (FILE IMAGE)   -  AP

An ICC board meeting is set to discuss the fate of the T20 World Cup — to be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15 — on Wednesday, though the speculation remains rife that the event could be postponed to next year because of the crippling COVID-19 crisis.

However, the Australian sports minister, Richard Colbeck, believes that a World Cup Down Under could still be possible, with restrictions on spectator numbers. Sportstar caught up with Minister Colbeck.

READ | ICC Board defers decision on T20 World Cup till June 10

Given how things are around the world at the moment, are you just as confident of Australia hosting the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup this year?

As Australia’s sports minister, I join with cricket fans around Australia in looking forward to welcoming the Indian squad ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The federal government, along with the International Cricket Council and state governments continue to work towards ensuring the event proceeds.

The key to Australia’s success at flattening the curve has been limited access to the country from areas where there’s a significant disease outbreak. Does this then put a global event like the World Cup in further jeopardy considering the logistics?

The Australian government is taking a strong and decisive approach in responding to COVID-19 based on the latest and best medical advice. It has led the way in flattening the curve of the pandemic and subsequently remains a fitting host for an international sporting spectacle. Australian states and territories are responsible for implementing arrangements regarding the resumption of sport in each jurisdictions. This may result in restrictions on spectator numbers – but in what capacity is not yet clear.

Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts recently said that talks are already underway to devise biosecurity plans for cricket to resume. What kind of biosafety measures can be expected at a venue?

We are confident the T20 World Cup will be a thrilling showdown watched by a global audience – but we remain committed to the implementation and support of measures to keep players and spectators safe.

Cricket Australia and the ICC T20 World Cup Local Organising Committee are consulting with the relevant Australian government agencies in the development of their biosecurity plan to support the resumption of professional cricket in Australia. This includes arrangements for the arrival of international teams, accommodation, training environments and venue logistics.

READ | India Tests could happen at one or two venues: Cricket Australia chief

Lastly, given it’s still a fluid situation, is the federal government in touch with the states regarding opening of borders for interstate travel, since that could be a major impediment to both the World Cup and the India series?

The Australian Border Force commissioner is authorised to grant approval for non-Australians or Australian residents to arrive via the border into Australia.

Any application by Cricket Australia would be considered on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with relevant health authorities.

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