COVID-19 situation keeps India's T20 World Cup hopes hanging

A couple of ICC full members have expressed reservations about travelling to India given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment.

Virat Kohli shakes hands with England players after the T20I series in Ahmedabad, the venue which is supposed to host the World Cup final.   -  PTI

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may have shortlisted nine venues for the T20 World Cup but India is far from being confirmed as the venue for the marquee event, scheduled to be played in October-November in 2021.

The BCCI’s apex council earlier this week shortlisted Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi, Dharamsala, Lucknow, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Mumbai to stage the event, with Ahmedabad having been proposed to host the final.

With a surge in COVID-19 cases forcing multiple states to impose lockdown, Sportstar understands that at least a couple of full members of the International Cricket Council have expressed reservations about travelling to India given the severity of the pandemic at the moment.

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An ICC events and logistics team is scheduled to travel to India towards the end of April to conduct recce at a few venues. However, the deadly second wave could postpone the visit.

According to a BCCI insider, even if the ICC team defers its plan, it shouldn’t be construed as “a cause for concern” since “the BCCI hopes that the ICC annual conference in June will erase all the doubts”.

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A couple of member boards seem to be in favour of the event being awarded to Australia, who is scheduled to stage the next year’s T20 World Cup.

Interestingly, the T20 World Cup in Australia, originally scheduled last year, was deferred till 2022 due to the pandemic with India refusing to stage the 2022 tournament citing it was too close to the 2023 ODI World Cup, also awarded to India.

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