On May 29, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials asked for one month’s time from the ICC regarding the hosting of the T20 World Cup 2021 in India. BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla was confident of the pandemic situation to change in India. But the time is running out and the BCCI are almost certain to host the global event in the UAE.
The ICC gave BCCI time till June 28 to decide if it still can host the event which is scheduled to take place between October-November. With UAE being a tried and tested venue and considering its close proximity, the BCCI might lock in UAE as the venue to conduct the 12-team grand tournament.
Apart from the traditional three venues in the UAE, they also have two grounds in Oman that can be used during the qualifiers.
“Due to the Covid situation in the country, we may shift the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled in India to UAE. Currently, we are monitoring the situation closely. Health and safety of players are paramount for us. We will take the final call soon,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah told Prasar Bharati’s Twitter handle.
The preliminary round matches likely to be held in Oman
Earlier, the UAE government spoke to ICC regarding the possibility of Oman hosting a few games, so that the pitches won’t become slow by the time the main matches of the T20 World Cup begin. The preliminary round will include eight teams and amongst them, only four will qualify for the Super 12. Ireland, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Namibia, Oman, Papua New Guinea, and Scotland are the eight teams.
BCCI were optimistic of pulling the tournament off in India, but due to new Delta plus variant and its alarming threat in the coming months has put the board in jeopardy. Earlier on May 4, the board also suspended the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) due to rising cases in the bio-bubble. The BCCI does not want to take any further risks and feels UAE is a safer option instead.
“We don’t want a repeat of an IPL-like situation. There’s also the tax exemption issue for which we haven’t got any assurances from the finance ministry so far. Travelling and quarantine issues will also be simpler if it is held in the UAE,” sources told The Telegraph.