T20 WC 2021: BCCI retains hosting rights regardless of venue
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said that a final decision on the venue for the T20 World Cup will be taken later this month. However, the global cricket body will explore options in the UAE, with the possibility of including "another venue in the Middle East". The ICC also clarified that the BCCI will retain the hosting rights regardless of the venue.
"The ICC board has requested management focus its planning efforts for the ICC men's T20 World Cup 2021 on the event being staged in the UAE," an ICC statement said. "A final decision on the host country will be taken later this month. The Board also confirmed that the BCCI will remain the hosts of the event regardless of where the event is played."
The decision comes two days after the BCCI, in its Special General Meeting (SGM), announced that the remainder of 2021 Indian Premier League will be held in the UAE. Notably, the cricket board cited monsoon season as the reason to shift the tournament outside India. It also sought a month's time from the ICC to explore possibilities for hosting the T20 WC in India.
Ahead of the IPL, the BCCI had proposed nine venues to the ICC (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Lucknow, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad) for staging the T20 World Cup. However, the ICC had to cancel a routine inspection in April after India was red-listed by the UAE, where the global cricket body's headquarters are based, considering the surge in COVID-19 cases.
After the postponement of IPL 2021, it was speculated that India might not host the T20 WC due to the COVID-19 situation in the country. Although the BCCI is still keen on hosting the tournament, the final decision rests with the ICC. Multiple bio-bubbles will be required for the smooth conduct of T20 WC. The BCCI can't afford another lapse at this stage.
The possible third wave of COVID-19 in India could move the T20 World Cup to the UAE. This could mark a hectic season for the country. Presently, the remaining matches of IPL and Pakistan Super League are scheduled to be played in the nation.