The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) feels that with the coronavirus outbreak and the effect it has had, having the showpiece event in October-November seems impractical. Speaking to IANS, a BCCI official said that a number of factors would come into play and all that would be only after normalcy returns. The official went on to point at the travel restrictions to begin with and the fresh directives that might come in across the globe, not just in India.
“To be honest, the T20 World Cup in October seems to be impractical and even thinking of a gathering of people of that magnitude at this time is naive. I mean think about it. At this stage you don’t know when international travel would be safe. Someone is saying June, someone is saying longer. Once travel does open up, it would be prudent to study the impact of travel as to whether the coronavirus remains controlled or not,” the official pointed.
The official then brought in the human aspect as he spoke about whether the ICC and Cricket Australia would be willing to take the guarantee of the number of lives that would be involved in the whole process of having a showpiece event.
“The question would then be whether the CA and the ICC are willing to stick their necks out and take the responsibility for such an event where the number of people converging would be significant. Then it comes down to the governments. Would the Australian government want to take such a risk? If so, what would be the timeline of their approval? Would the time be sufficient for the other boards? Would the governments of other countries permit their teams to travel?” the official questioned.
Finally the official pointed at the biggest area of concern fan safety. “Lastly, with the condition that everyone is going through at the moment, would the fans want to gather in a stadium at this stage? Or would the tickets of only one out of 10 seats be made available to keep a semblance of social distancing norms in place?” the official asked.
Interestingly, current Australia players like Glenn Maxwell have already been vocal about the fact that having a World T20 in empty stadiums would be a difficult scenario.
“... it’s going to be hard for us to have crowds. I think if IPL goes ahead they can probably survive without any crowds, but I can’t see the T20 World Cup surviving without any people there,” Maxwell had told ABC Grandstand.
“It’s going to be hard for us to justify having a World Cup when we can’t get people into the grounds. So I can’t see it happening in the near future. We’ve got to take care of everyone’s health and wellbeing.”
Australia’s limited-over skipper Aaron Finch echoed the sentiments. “I think we might have to get our heads around a T20 World Cup that might be postponed for a month, two months, three months, whatever it has to be,” Finch told SEN Radio. Speaking post the ICC meet, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Kevin Roberts said: “Cricket Australia is working closely with the ICC, the Local Organising Committee and the Australian government so we have a comprehensive understanding of exactly what it will take to be able to play the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 in October in Australia as planned.
“We are also jointly exploring all other options in relation to staging the event and will take the right decisions at the right time so we can host a wonderful celebration of the sport and keep everyone involved safe and well.” – IANS