The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is currently hosting world’s biggest T20 tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India. The whole event is being played in bio-bubbles amid the record surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. Due to the rising coronavirus cases, doubts have been raised about whether India could host the T20I World Cup, scheduled to take place in October later this year.
Few big names in world cricket, including Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, have already left the IPL 2021 due to either the bubble fatigue or the massive outpouring in COVID-19 cases. Amid all this, the apex Indian board is preparing for Plan B if the coronavirus pandemic forces the upcoming T20 World Cup to be shifted outside the nation.
Speaking at the BBC Stumped Podcast, BCCI’s General Manager of Game Development Dhiraj Malhotra said that the Indian cricket board is considering the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the alternate option if the situation doesn’t improve in the country.
“I’ve just been named one of the tournament directors, so I’m doing everything we can to make sure it happens (in India). We will be doing the normal scenario, COVID scenario and worst-case scenario, so with all that, we’re talking to the ICC at the moment,” said Malhotra.
“It would be the UAE. We’re hoping again that it would be done by the BCCI. So, we’ll take the tournament there, but it’ll still be done by the BCCI,” he added.
Recently, the BCCI had projected nine venues across India to stage the T20 World Cup. These places are: Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamshala and Mumbai.
Ahmedabad, where world’s largest cricket stadium is built, was fitted in for the final.
“The nine venues have been informed, and it was again discussed that preparations should continue for the showpiece event with an eye on the Covid-19 situation, and a call will only be taken closer to the event. It is too early to imagine what can or will happen in October-November regarding the coronavirus situation. But preparations shall be on,” a BCCI source had told ANI.