The ICC was supposed to make a decision this week on the future of the T20 World Cup in Australia; especially in light of the BCCI still considering hosting IPL. The World Cup is scheduled to take place in October but there has been growing uncertainty.
ICC Under Pressure
Australia has closed its borders to foreign travel; there is no indication from the government as to when it will open its borders again. It seems very unlikely that this will be done in time for the T20 World Cup; this would make it impossible for the World Cup to take place.
The ICC were under a bit of pressure to make a decision on the matter. The BCCI has been pushing to get IPL underway if the T20 World Cup is cancelled. However, the ICC decided that it was best to postpone the decision to July; they needed more time to consider all possibilities and put in place contingency plans.
The ICC is making plans for the tournament to take place within a restrictive environment. It is likely that the T20 World Cup will be held behind closed doors; it would mean too much risk by getting in thousands of fans from different parts of the world.
The immediate concerns that the ICC must address include:
- travel arrangements of players from multiple ICC member countries
- player safety
- rule changes to the way cricket will be played
Those are a lot of things to consider. In a way, it does not come as a surprise that the ICC is pushing for more time.
Manu Sawhney, CEO of the ICC said that they are working together with multiple stakeholders including governments, cricketing boards, broadcasters and players to make the best decision.
BCCI President Looking At IPL In Empty Stadiums
The BCCI wanted the ICC to make a decision on the T20 World Cup; a cancellation would leave a window of opportunity for the 2020 IPL to take place. Even though the ICC has requested another month, the BCCI has decided to make plans for the IPL.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly confirmed that they were looking at hosting the 2020 IPL later this year in empty stadiums. The UAE had sent in an official proposal to the BCCI offering to host the IPL but Ganguly did not confirm on whether the IPL would move to the UAE.
Ganguly said that IPL franchises, fans, players and other stakeholders were very eager to stage the IPL in 2020 and the BCCI would work hard to get this done. If the T20 World Cup does not get cancelled, then there is hardly any window in the cricketing calendar for the IPL to take place.
Ganguly did not share any information as to what contingency plans the BCCI has in place to host the IPL if the T20 World Cup proceeds as per plan. However, the BCCI President did confirm that they had already put in place a draft of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for domestic cricket to resume in India.
However, the SOPs are still subject to board approval and domestic cricket can only resume once the Indian government gives the BCCI the green light. The domestic season for 2020 will most likely be truncated and will be subjected to new rules in light of COVID-19.