T20 World Cup to be played in UAE and Oman, confirms BCCI

Earlier this month, the ICC had given the BCCI time till June 28 to inform whether it is in a position to conduct the tournament in the country.

The 2021 men's T20 World Cup will start from October 17 in the UAE.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The T20 World Cup will be shifted to the United Arab Emirates after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) that it would not be possible to host the 16-team tournament in India due to the pandemic.

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Earlier this month, the ICC had given the BCCI time till June 28 to inform whether it is in a position to conduct the tournament in the country.

But the BCCI top brass said on Monday that even though the Board will have the hosting rights, the tournament will now be held across four cities - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Muscat - between October 17 and November 14.

"We are still finalising the dates. But it has been decided that the qualifiers will be held in Oman while the main group matches will be played in the UAE," BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly told Sportstar on Monday.

The former India captain also stated that the ICC has been formally communicated about the decision keeping the 'pandemic situation' in mind.

Even Board treasurer Arun Dhumal suggested that this was the best possible solution, since the Indian Premier League will also be held in the Emirates prior to the T20 World Cup.

"Keeping the situation in mind it only made sense to host the tournament in the UAE. There is Delta variant now and obviously, there are restrictions, so we had to factor in everything," he said.

In its June 1 meeting, the ICC Board had stated that it will look out for another venue in the region, since UAE has only three international venues - Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sharjah Cricket Stadium and Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

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With Oman having ICC-accredited grounds, it was an automatic choice. It is believed that the teams which will feature in the qualifiers will directly travel to Oman and enter the bio-bubble and only the teams qualifying to the main stage will be heading to the UAE.

"We are sorting out everything. We will inform once there are more details," Ganguly said.

Oman Cricket officials - led by its chief Pankaj Khimji - had met the BCCI top brass in Dubai earlier this month to have a discussion on the road ahead.

Sri Lanka, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Oman, Bangladesh, Namibia, Netherlands and Scotland will compete in the qualifiers, from which four teams will join the other teams in the final 12 stage. Teams like India, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, England have directly made it to the main stage.

IPL final dates soon

BCCI chief Ganguly also stated that the final dates for the IPL will be announced soon. The tournament had to be postponed in May after multiple players and support staff contracted the virus. While the tournament is expected to begin on September 18 and get over a couple of days before the T20 World Cup, Ganguly said the BCCI is chalking out the final dates. "We are working on that. It will be announced soon," he said.

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