New Delhi: Having dilly-dallied over the last couple of months, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday finally announced that the 2020 edition of the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ICC in a release confirmed the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia 2020 has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “At today’s meeting of the IBC Board (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC), windows for the next three ICC men’s events were also agreed to bring clarity to the calendar and give the sport the best possible opportunity over the next three years to recover from the disruption caused by COVID-19.

 

“The windows for the Men’s events are: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be held October – November 2021 with the final on 14 November 2021. ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 will be held October – November 2022 with the final on 13 November 2022. ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 will be held in India October – November 2023 with the final on 26 November 2023.

“The IBC Board agreed to continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation and assess all the information available in order to make a considered decision on future hosts to ensure the sport is able to stage safe and successful global events in 2021 and 2022,” the release said.

“The IBC Board will also continue to evaluate the situation in relation to being able to stage the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand in February next year. In the meantime, planning for this event continues as scheduled.”

Despite ICC’s Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee (F&CA) chief Ehsan Mani as well as Cricket Australia making it clear time and again that hosting a T20 World Cup in the October-November window is practically impossible, the ICC kept waiting before finally making an official announcement.

Not just CA chairman Eddings, but also Mani — also PCB chief — had told the media that the T20 World Cup cannot be held in a bio-secure environment.

“We have had a lot of discussions and the feeling is it (T20 World Cup) would not be possible this year. ICC has World Cups lined up in 2021 and 2023, so we have a gap year where we can adjust this event. God forbid if some player(s) falls ill or mishap occurs during the tournament, it will have a big impact and create panic in the cricket world and we can’t take that risk. Having a bio-bubble environment is feasible for say a bilateral series like Pakistan in England, but it is very difficult when 16 teams are involved,” he had said.

Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley echoed the sentiments when he said the biggest challenge was to get the players from so many teams into the country.

“Our biggest challenge is getting 15 teams into the country. 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,” he had said.

The BCCI on its part had made it clear that if the tournament is postponed, they would use the T20 World Cup window to host the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League. But the Indian board is yet to make an official announcement on the schedule of IPL 13 as they have been waiting for a final call on the showpiece event. The rough timeline of the tournament though is from September 26 to November 8.

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Indo-Asian News Service or IANS is a private Indian news agency. The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service

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