It would be the UAE. We’re hoping again that it would be done by the BCCI, Malhotra said
A BCCI official has confirmed that the UAE could be hosting this year’s T20 World Cup if India fails to bring the Covid-19 crisis under control.
India is scheduled to host the world’s premier international T20 tournament from October 18 to November 15.
But with India battling a horrific second wave of the Covid-19 infections, questions now have been raised whether the country would be able to host the T20 World Cup later this year.
In an interview with the BBC, Dhiraj Malhotra, general manager for game development with the BCCI, said the Indian cricket board had not given up hope as yet in terms of hosting the event in India.
“I’ve just been named one of the tournament directors, so I’m doing everything we can to make sure it happens (in India),” Malhotra told the BBC on Thursday.
“We will be doing normal scenario, and worst case scenario, so with all that we’re talking to the ICC at the moment.”
But Malhotra admitted that the UAE would be the ideal destination if BCCI decided to take the tournament out of India due to the unprecedented health crisis in the country.
“It would be the UAE. We’re hoping again that it would be done by the BCCI. So, we’ll take the tournament there, but it’ll still be done by the BCCI,” he said.
While the BCCI has maintained that the ongoing 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will continue despite concerns from several foreign players, hosting an event as big as the T20 World Cup could be a massive challenge for India if the Covid-19 situation doesn’t improve significantly in the next three-four months.
Compared to the eight-team IPL tournament, the T20 World Cup will see the participation of 16 international teams.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is closely monitoring the situation in India.
Earlier, Geoff Allardice, the interim CEO of the ICC, said the game’s governing body had backup plans for the T20 World Cup this year.
“Yes, we have (back-up plans),” Allardice had said. “But at this stage we haven’t activated those plans, because we are preparing to go ahead with the event in India as scheduled.
“We’re working with the BCCI and different elements of that event at the moment, but we do have back-up plans that can be activated when the time’s right.”
There has been no comment from the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) on whether the ICC and the BCCI have asked them to be ready for the event.
The UAE hosted the 2020 IPL after a disturbing rise in coronavirus cases in India last year forced the BCCI to bring their money-spinning league to these shores.
The BCCI and all the stakeholders later paid glowing tribute to the UAE for successfully hosting their biggest event across three stadiums – Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Zayed Cricket Stadium (Abu Dhabi) and the Sharjah Cricket Stadium – in a safe environment.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Australian spinner Adam Zampa, who left the IPL due to virus concerns, even said that the 2021 edition of the tournament also should have been staged in the UAE.
“I just feel like because it’s India, we’re always being told about the hygiene over here and being extra careful … I just felt like it (IPL bio-bubble in India) was the most vulnerable. The IPL that was held in Dubai six months ago didn’t feel that way at all,” said Zampa.
“I felt like that was extremely safe. Personally, I feel like that (UAE) would have been a better option originally for this IPL but obviously, there’s a lot of political stuff that goes into it.”