Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board today agreed to continue exploring a number of contingency plans regarding the future of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 202. Though planning for delivery of the events in the scheduled window is ongoing no decision will be taken until next month.
The fate of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November, will now be known next month as the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to postpone a final call on it in its crucial Board meeting on Wednesday.
The fate of the showpiece event has been under the scanner in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has seen the ICC and CA work overtime to try and ensure that the tournament is held as per schedule. The event was scheduled to be held Down Under from October 18 to November 15.
The ICC release said, “The Board expressed its desire to continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19 working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved. This contingency planning process will evaluate health and safety, cricket, partner, and host considerations ensuring any decision taken is in the best interests of the sport, its members, and fans.”
Chief Executive Manu Sawhney stated, “We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our Members, broadcasters, partners, governments, and players and to ensure that we make a well-informed decision.”
In their letter, Cricket Australia had suggested that Australia be handed rights to hosts the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup instead of postponing this year’s edition to 2022. But 2021 edition rights are already with India and as per BCCI officials, they are not ready to exchange the hosting rights.
The Board discussed the ongoing issue of tax exemptions required for ICC events and agreed to extend the deadline given to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to provide a tax solution to December 2020. The tax exemption for major events, incidentally, had been a bone contention between the ICC and the Indian board since the last major ICC event hosted by India – the 2016 World T20.
“The ICC stands against racism and is proud of the diversity of our sport. We support players using their platform to appropriately express their support for a more equitable society,” an ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We will exercise a common-sense approach to the implementation of regulations in relation to this issue and they will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the match officials,” the spokesperson added.
As for the independent investigation that was called for during the last meeting after reports were leaked in the media, the release said: “The board received an update on the independent investigation into the confidentiality of board matters. The inquiry, which is being led by the ICC Ethics Officer, will be supported administratively by a sub-group of the board comprising Independent Director Indra Nooyi and Chair of the F&CA Ehsan Mani. All members of the board and ICC management are parties to the enquiry.”
The ICC also confirmed interim changes to its playing regulations, which also included the ban on the decades-old technique of using saliva to shine the cricket ball.
The International cricket is set to resume next month after almost a three-month-long COVID-19 halt. A three-match test series will mark the resumption of International Cricket in the post-COVID-19 world when the West Indies team will visit England.