Mumbai: As anticipated, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to postpone this year’s T20 World Cup that was scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November.
The decision, taken after four months of monitoring, was arrived at an ICC board meeting held virtually on Monday. It also paves the way for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to host this year’s Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“The decision to postpone the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world,” ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said.
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be held October –November 2021
The rest of the schedule will be as follows: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be held October –November 2021 with the final on 14 Nov 2021. ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 will be held Oct –Nov 2022 with the final on 13 Nov 2022. ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 will be held in India Oct-Nov 2023 with the final on 26 November.
This means there could be three consecutive ICC World Cup years, the T20 versions in 2021 and 2022 and the 50-over version in 2023. “Our members now have the clarity they need around event windows to enable them to reschedule lost bilateral and domestic cricket,” Sawhney said. A decision on whether India continues to host the 2021 T20 World Cup or whether that will go to Australia, will be taken later.
The ICC has not warmed up to the idea of hosting the event in India unless the BCCI resolves a long-standing tax-exemption issue with the Indian government. “The ICC Business Corporation(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,” an ICC statement stated.
Leading the rescheduling queue is the BCCI that has Rs 4000 crore riding on the IPL, its biggest money spinner. “Now that there is a window, we will seek the government permission to host the IPL. We are looking to host it in UAE. A decision will be taken in the IPL governing council meet, this week,” IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said. It’s learnt the BCCI’s contingency plan includes either a 43-day or 50-day closed-door IPL, starting 26 September.
The BCCI is used to moving the IPL out of India, having done it in 2014 when the first part was held in the UAE and before that in 2009 to South Africa, both due to general elections. When the event went to South Africa in 2009, it was staged in 37 days with multiple double headers.
“We were all looking positively at the prospects of the IPL. We will await more information from the BCCI,” said Satish Menon, the CEO of Kings XI Punjab. “One has to say the decision has come very late, but now that the ICC has finally decided, the BCCI will take all necessary efforts to stage the IPL,” Apex Council member Anshuman Gaikwad said.