This year’s T20 World Cup is expected to be moved from India to the United Arab Emirates, with BCCI acknowledging that none of the participating teams would be ‘comfortable’ coming here as ‘a third wave’ of COVID cases -19 is expected at the time of an event.
Although a final decision is made in a month, it is understood that even the Indian Cricket Council is nervous about holding the 16-team tournament in October-November after the current IPL had to be suspended. due to multiple cases of COVID-19 indoors. the bio-bubble.
The PTI has learned that BCCI officials have had very recent discussions with some of the key central government decision-makers and that a move to the UAE has been more or less agreed to. The dates for the flagship competition, which was scheduled at nine venues, have not yet been finalized.
“The suspension of the IPL within four weeks is an indicator that it is not really safe to host a global event of this magnitude as the country battles its worst health crisis in 70 years,” said a senior BCCI development source. on conditions of anonymity.
“There is a chance that a third wave will hit the Indian coast in November. While BCCI will remain the host, the tournament will likely move to the United Arab Emirates, ”he added.
Health experts warned of a third wave in India in September, a view shared by Maharashtra’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope.
The dire situation in India, where a daily addition of over 3 lakh of new cases has continued for several days, has rocked most member councils and the ICC is unlikely to take a risk with the safety of international cricket teams. .
“You can be assured that most of the top nations would not like to tour India in the next six months unless things return to normal. Players and their families would be very reluctant to travel if they are in the middle of a new wave.
“So expect BCCI to agree to the transfer of the tournament to the United Arab Emirates,” another source also added.
“The IPL in India has been a platform to prove to the world and the participating nations that it is safe to host a tournament even when the second wave is at its peak.
“It was going well but the bio bubble has now become porous. What is the guarantee that this will not happen again in October-November. Countries like Australia, England and New Zealand are almost certain to have travel advisories in place, ”he said.
One of the main reasons the tournament is held in the UAE is that it can be limited to three courts – Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi – and there is no air travel.
“Searching for six sites for IPL has always been a dangerous proposition when they succeeded with three in the last edition,” the source said.
“In the UAE they were all in one bubble from start to finish while here each team traveled to three bubbles. Most of the positive cases appeared after the bubbles had traveled.
“Therefore, even if you reduce the number of sites from 9 to 5 in October, there will still be air travel unlike the UAE. Also for the players, they would not mentally be in a space to play in India unless the situation drastically improved, ”he added.
There is an ICC meeting in June where a final decision will be made but the continuation of the tournament in India after the cancellation of the IPL seems overkill at this point.