Sri Lanka, UAE the back-up venues for 2021 T20 WC
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has zeroed in on Sri Lanka and the UAE, in case India is unable to host the next year's T20 WC. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, the two nations are deemed the back-up venues for the tournament. Earlier, the ICC postponed the 2020 T20 WC, which was supposed to be held in Australia, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back-up venues are identified as a part of standard protocol
As per the standard protocol, potential back-up venues are identified for every ICC event. However, the this process has become crucial this time, due to the nature of the pandemic. Notably, India remains among the worst-hit countries with over 47,000 deaths reported as of now. The incumbent plight has also forced the BCCI to shift the Indian Premier league to UAE.
The situation in Sri Lanka and the UAE
Both Sri Lanka and the UAE fall among the least-affected countries in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. While the active cases in Sri Lanka have dropped to 232 with 11 deaths, the death toll in United Arab Emirates reads 358 presently. Moreover, the UAE is also set to host the Indian Premier League the second time after 2014.
BCCI yet to respond on the plans
The BCCI President Sourav Ganguly is yet to voice an opinion on the back-up venues. It is understood that the board is willing to host the 2021 edition instead of 2022 as it doesn't want to host three consecutive tournaments (2023 IPL and 2023 WC).
ICC had postponed the T20 World Cup
Last month, the ICC officially postponed the Men's T20 WC by a year due to coronavirus pandemic. Originally, the tournament was due to commence on October 18 in Australia. The decision was taken after several members of Cricket Australia expressed reservations about managing the 16 teams during the dire circumstances. Notably, the ICC continued to explore contingency plans before taking a final call.
India will remain the hosts of 2021 T20 WC
A few weeks after postponing the tournament, the ICC confirmed that India will remain the hosts of the 2021 T20 World Cup. Meanwhile, the succeeding edition (2022) will be held in Australia. All the teams that qualified for the 2020 event will be part of the 2021 World Cup. Besides, a new qualification process will be in place for the 2022 event.