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ICC should take call on T20 World Cup now after Melbourne gets lockdown

Australias second largest city Melbourne is set to go for another round of lockdown — for six weeks — from midnight Wednesday as the coronavirus has reared its ugly head in Victoria. And this has further confirmed that this years T20 World Cup in Australia is practically not possible. Even as the ICC keeps delaying the announcement, BCCI hopes that the official call will now be taken with this latest development.

ICC T20 World Cup Trophy
Photo: ICC T20 World Cup Trophy

Despite ICC’s Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee (F&CA) chief Ehsan Mani as well as Cricket Australia making it clear time and again that hosting a T20 World Cup in the October-November window is practically impossible, the ICC hasn”t made an official announcement and that hasn”t impressed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Speaking to IANS, a BCCI official said that it is only the ICC which has kept speaking about delaying the inevitable — announcing a postponement — even as Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings wrote to the international body that it looks highly unlikely that a T20 World Cup can be hosted in these trying times.

“As it is there were so many logistical difficulties and that is perfectly understandable. The Australian government has been addressing the public health issue efficiently and there are regulations in place which are crucial to address the challenges. In that background even Cricket Australia has been practical in their assessment of the situation.

“With this present situation where Melbourne is in lockdown, the ICC really must take the final call of closure on the issue if they have any concept of responsible decision making,” the official said.

Not just CA chairman Eddings, but also Mani — who is also the PCB chief — recently told the media that the T20 World Cup cannot be held in a bio-secure environment.

“We have had a lot of discussions and the feeling is it (T20 World Cup) would not be possible this year. ICC has World Cups lined up in 2021 and 2023, so we have a gap year where we can adjust this event. God forbid if some player(s) falls ill or mishap occurs during the tournament, it will have a big impact and create panic in the cricket world and we can”t take that risk. Having a bio-bubble environment is feasible for say a bilateral series like Pakistan in England, but it is very difficult when 16 teams are involved,” he had said.

Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley echoed the sentiments when he said the biggest challenge was to get the players from so many teams into the country.

“Our biggest challenge is getting 15 teams into the country. If I compare it with the prospect of a bilateral tour, you”re talking about bringing one team in and then playing individual matches. But the prospect of bringing 15 teams in and having six or seven teams in one city at the same time, it”s a much more complex exercise,” he had said.