ICC World T20 2021: BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirms venue shifted to UAE
The 2021 ICC World T20 is slated to be held in October-November, while it would be the seventh edition of the prestigious Twenty20 global event. Meanwhile, the venue would be shifted from India to the United Arab Emirates due to the former's COVID concerns.
The ICC World T20 2021 is just four months away, while uncertainty regarding the venue continues. Although India is the actual host nation, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India having the hosting rights, the venue is to get a shift.
Reigning BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that the venue would be shifted to the United Arab Emirates from India, with BCCI retaining the hosting rights. Although the International Cricket Council is yet to announce the same officially, Ganguly has validated that the preparations for the same are underway.
"We have officially intimated the ICC that the T20 World Cup can be shifted to the United Arab Emirates. The details are being chalked out. The decision was taken keeping health safety concerns of all stakeholders in mind. We will be able to finalise itinerary details in some days. October 17 start hasn't yet been finalised," he told PTI.
As far as the tournament's schedule is concerned, the ICC is yet to decide on the same. However, a four-week window is likely. Also, it would be a challenge to organise the schedule and allot the venues since the IPL 2021 remainder would also be held in the gulf and the pitches would need enough time to re-energise before the WT20.
After IPL, WT20 has become the second event to be shifted out of India. It comes owing to the COVID challenges and situation in the country. The IPL 2021 was suspended after the bio-bubble of four teams were breached during the country's second wave of the pandemic. Meanwhile, health experts have indicated the third wave around October-November, thus jeopardising India's chances of hosting the tournament.
In the meantime, it is being reported that a few initial matches of the competition's qualifiers could be held in Oman. It would give ample time for the UAE pitches to freshen up before the Super 12s, which would mark the beginning of the main tournament.
"If the BCCI is unable to host an eight-team IPL in September, how could it have hosted World T20 within a month? Also, now we have a new variant (Delta 3) and there is every possibility of a third wave in the country in October. The BCCI brass was always well aware that it won't be practically feasible," an ICC spokesperson said.
The Indians are expected to reach Dubai from Manchester on September 15 via a charter flight for the IPL. The players would continue to stay in the gulf for around two months until the WT20 concludes.
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