Amid rising COVID-19 cases, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is readying itself to move the T20 World Cup to the UAE.
A total of 16 countries are scheduled to take part in the prestigious event, which will take place in India between October and November this year.
The men’s T20 World Cup will be the first multi-team global event staged by the ICC after the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a pandemic in 2020.
Dhiraj Malhotra, the tournament director for the T20 World Cup, told BBC: “I am doing everything we can to make sure that it happens (T20 World Cup in India).”
The BCCI may take the T20 World Cup to the UAE as a contingency measure if the ICC found India to be unsafe, said Malhotra. At present, the BCCI is going ahead with the plan of holding the event in India. “As of now we are looking at ticket sales, people travelling from all over the world, but again we don’t know what the situation would be at that point of time.”
Recently, the BCCI gave names of nine venues to the ICC for holding the T20 World Cup: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai.
An ICC expert team was scheduled to arrive in India to inspect the venues and plans, but that plan had to be shelved with the UAE banning travel to India recently.
A few days before the IPL began, Geoff Allardice, the ICC’s interim chief executive officer, told Indian media that they are “preparing to go ahead with the event in India as scheduled.”
The situation in India, however, has deteriorated since then. India has reported over 18 million COVID-19 positive cases (second behind the USA) and is fast moving to become the third on the list of most deaths globally with the current count over 208,000.
Several countries have banned flights to and from India, while four overseas players from two IPL franchises have returned home.