ICC T20 World Cup in Australia likely to be postponed

Logistics is a major concern and one of the top officials indicate that ‘there is practically no other way’ but to reschedule the tournament to 2021.

A general view of the stadium during the Women's T20 World Cup final cricket match between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March 2020.   -  REUTERS

The T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia between October 18 and November 15, is likely to be postponed, and an official decision on this matter is expected after the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s board meeting on May 28.

While the Cricket Australia top management maintains that ‘nothing has been agreed yet’, some of the cricket boards admit that chances of Australia hosting the T20 World Cup this year look quite slim.

“Even I have heard that the T20 World Cup won’t happen. The ICC executive board will meet on May 28 and they will take a final decision,” Sourav Ganguly, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin.

“I don’t know the exact reason. But I think the highest level of the Australian government won’t give permission to so many teams to travel there in October-November,” Ganguly said.

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A spokesperson for Australia's Department of Health told Sportstar that the onus will be on Australian states and territories as they “are responsible for implementing arrangements regarding the resumption of sport in their jurisdiction.”

“As the T20 World Cup and the Indian team’s tour matches are scheduled to take place across multiple jurisdictions, each hosting jurisdiction will need to provide approval for these events to be held in their venues,” the spokesperson added.

The Governor-General of Australia has also extended the human biosecurity emergency period from 17 June to 17 September 2020, meaning international cricket in any form is likely to have huge logistical and bio-security challenges to overcome.

“The Australian Border Force Commissioner is authorised to grant approval for non-Australian or Australian Residents to arrive via the border into Australia.

“Cricket Australia and the ICC T20 World Cup Local Organising Committee are consulting with relevant Australian Government agencies in the development of their biosecurity plan to support the resumption of professional cricket in Australia,” the spokesperson said.

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But is there a back-up plan if the tournament is postponed?

Cricket South Africa’s Cricket Director, Graeme Smith told reporters on Thursday that if the tournament gets postponed, they could look at a window next year. “If it does get postponed, we're looking at February or March next year,” Smith said.

“We are consistently looking at strategies for tours, what the FTP [Future Tours Programme] looks like, what our focus is going to be over the next period of time,” the former South Africa captain said.

However, there are quite a few factors involved. It needs to be seen whether the BCCI agrees to allow CA to host the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup and shifts its turn to 2022 as per original calendar, India is to host the T20 World Cup in 2021. If that’s not feasible, then Australia could be offered to host the tournament in 2022, and that could be suitable for many as there are no ICC events scheduled that year.

For now, logistics is also a major concern and one of the top officials indicate that ‘there is practically no other way’ but to reschedule the tournament to next year.

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