The T20 World Cup is slated to be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15 but the fate of the tournament remains uncertain in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts has said his organisation has suffered an A$20m ($12.58m) drop in revenues. The coronavirus pandemic that infected over 2 million worldwide has wiped out the cricketing calendar.
“We might not generate financial returns from that event that are as significant as the international cricket season [in Australia],” he said, in comments reported by a news outlet. The governing body put their employees on furlough, with pay cuts of up to 80% while the operation will be on skeletal from 27 April until the end of June.
“But what we do know is that the bigger returns from the broadcast rights around the event that are generated by the ICC are very important to all of our counterparts around the cricket world. So it’s incumbent on us to do everything possible to stage and host the T20 World Cup,” the Australian chief added. Australia has less than 700 cases of the virus with 74 deaths at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC) claimed that it’s too soon to make a decision on whether the tournament will be postponed, stressing that it is “exploring all options” as part of its comprehensive contingency planning for all its events. It is understood the ICC will discuss the future of the tournament at the start of next month.
We are continuing with our planning for ICC events as they are, but given the rapidly evolving situation as a prudent and responsible measure we are also undertaking a comprehensive contingency planning exercise,” an ICC spokesperson was quoted as he spoke to a news outlet. “This includes exploring all options available to us based on a range of scenarios connected to the pandemic.”
According to reports, one option being explored is moving the World Cup to a window encompassing late March and April of next year. Another option is keeping to the original schedule but playing the T20 World Cup behind closed doors. At a world event with 16 teams taking part, the logistics behind safely hosting the event would be an administrative and public health nightmare.
Earlier this week, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has suggested that India can host the T20 World Cup in 2020 while Australia can host the next edition, which is originally slated to be held in India next year. At the moment, as we all know, Australia has barred foreigners from entering the country till the 30th of September,” Gavaskar was quoted as he spoke to an Indian sports outlet.
“If it can be done… next year’s T20 World Cup is in India. If it can be done… where India and Australia come to an agreement… in case the curve in India flattens out and India and Australia swap… so the T20 World Cup is in India in October-November this year and Australia in October-November next year, then it can happen,” he added.
At the time of writing, the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 2 million people and killed more than 17,000 worldwide. There are over 20,000 cases in India with nearly 700 deaths recorded. Earlier, the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, due to commence on March 29 and was earlier suspended till April 15, will totally miss the April-May deadline as it has been postponed further.
Gavaskar also suggested for the IPL to be held just before the T20 World Cup, so that players get enough match practice before the multi-national event. “If it is going to happen that way, then maybe what can happen is the IPL can be held just prior to the T20 World Cup so that it’s enough practice for the players to have T20 World Cup,” Gavaskar said.
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