The T20 World cup venue debate finally comes to an end, following the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official announcement. The marquee event, which was supposedly going to be held in India this year, is shifted to the United Arab Emirates and Oman amid Covid-19 concerns.
Initially, the 7th T20 World cup was to be hosted by Australia between October 18 to November 15, 2020. However, an announcement made by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in July 2020 confirmed the event’s postponement to the Year 2021. This decision was made in safekeeping regarding the surge in covid-19 cases.
But ICC restated the change in venue change on August 2020 through an official announcement. Now the tournament was scheduled in India in 2021. In the final decision, ICC made it clear that India will retain the rights to the T20 Men’s World Cup, 2021, regardless of its venue.
Nonetheless, the second wave of the pandemic had other plans. The sudden rise in Covid-19 cases with oxygen scarcity grappled the country. In the meantime, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was on its second phase.
The first leg of the tournament went smoothly with the help of a bio-secure bubble. However, in the tournament’s second leg, a sudden breach in the bio-bubble resulted in postponing the match altogether. Now the remaining half of IPL is scheduled to take place in the UAE.
On Monday, June 28, 2021, Board President Sourav Ganguly made the official broadcast of shifting the T20 Men’s World Cup, 2021, to UAE & Oman.
“This decision is made due to the player’s safety and keeping teams and organizers in the center. We have officially intimated to the ICC that the T20 World Cup can be shifted to the United Arab Emirates and Oman. The details are being chalked out.” said Ganguly in the announcement.
Regarding the official dates the former cricketer stated, they have yet to finalize the final date for the tournament. As of now, 17th October is not a closing date, and more information will be shared in the upcoming days.
Although the showpiece event is shifted to UAE & Oman, BCCI reserves the full right to host the match. Given the dreadful grasp of Covid-19 in India, many events have either been postponed or canceled. The IPL 2020 was held in UAE as well without a glitch. Now the remaining second half of IPL 2021 is also schedules in UAE.
COVID 3rd Wave
With Delta 3 variant rising, experts have weighed the possibility of a third wave of a pandemic by October in India. Apart from that, the country is on the “Red list.” These travel restrictions are not going to be lifted any time soon. Hence it could pose an obstacle for players from England and Australia to join the tournament in India.
In the Board meeting held on June 1st with the International Cricket Council (ICC), the BCCI was able to seek a month deciding period. ICC remarked BCCI had to respond with the final venue detail by June 28.
Earlier this year, BCCI shortlisted almost nine venues to host the marquee event. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, and Lucknow were on the list to possibly prepare for the 16-team match. But due to the surging pandemic, ICC had to cancel its inspection visit in April.
In the meantime, the ICC advised the management team to focus its organizing efforts on ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. From the very beginning, the ICC hinted at the tournament to be scheduled possibly in UAE or any other venue in the Middle East.
T20 Men’s World cup 2021
While the itineraries are being affirmed; the first of the tournament will supposedly split across two groups, which might be held in UAE and Oman.
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia, Oman, Papua New Guinea is believed to compete in the 1st round. A total of 12 matches are to be played. Every two top teams from each group will move forward to the qualifying round for Super 12s. This is where the deserving team will battle against the top eight ranked T20I teams.
For the Super 12, a total of six teams will be divided into two groups. The team will then play the match for the super 12 phases in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. Moreover, the game will move on to three play-offs in total. Then two semi-finals and eventually finals on 14th November.
With this, the fans impatiently wait for the 16 outstanding teams’ battle for the top prize. Let’s hope the event proceeds without any obstacle and further postponement.