If 15 teams can be allowed to enter Australia for the T20 World Cup then fans will not be stopped from watching live action from the stadiums, Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley said on Saturday.
Hockley replaced under-fire Kevin Roberts, who recently got the boot from Cricket Australia, which is grappling with financial woes.
Different possibilities are being worked out for the T20 World to go ahead as scheduled later this year and one of them is to host the tournament before empty stands in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Hockley said crowds will be allowed, though, hosting 15 teams with players, officials and support staff is “complex” as of now, hinting that probably the ICC flagship event could be pushed back.
“The reality is, and we’ve got much more understanding about this in recent weeks, is crowds are most likely to come back before international travel. Our biggest challenge is getting 15 teams into the country,” Hockley told cricket.com.au when asked if he would like to see the World Cup proceed without fans.
“If I compare it with the prospect of a bilateral tour, you’re talking about bringing one team in and then playing individual matches. But the prospect of bringing 15 teams in and having six or seven teams in one city at the same time, it’s a much more complex exercise.”
When specifically asked whether crowds would be permitted by the time borders have opened to the point that 15 teams will be allowed to travel to Australia, Hockley replied in an affirmative note.
“That’s the current thinking, yes,” he said.
Hockley said it came as a shock when he was asked by Cricket Australia to replace Roberts.
“I’ve had very mixed emotions. I was very shocked to be asked. I didn’t see it coming at all, so I probably haven’t had time yet to process it. I feel very sad for Kev (Roberts). On the other hand, I feel this is a massive privilege to be asked, it’s a massive responsibility and a massive opportunity even if it’s only for the next few months,” he said.
Hockey did not commit when asked if he would like to assume the role full time, but he did say that he would quit as CEO of the T20 World Cup Organising Committee.
“My approach throughout my entire career has been to focus on doing the best job I can with what I’ve been tasked with, and the future will look after itself. And I’ll continue the same approach.
“That’s (T20 World Cup) been a real priority over the last 48 hours. We’re reasonably well progressed and we will be appointing an interim because you just can’t do both,” he said.