India still set to host T20 World Cup; ICC working on back-up plans amid COVID-19 surge

India still set to host T20 World Cup; ICC working on back-up plans amid COVID-19 surge

India have witnessed an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in recent days.

BCCI. (Photo by Aniruddha Chowhdury/Mint via Getty Images)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has stated that the T20 World Cup is still on course to be held in India later this year despite the sudden spike in the COVID-19 cases. The marquee event was originally scheduled to take place last year in Australia but had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Later, India got the hosting rights for the competition.

The seventh edition of the competition is scheduled to be held in October-November in India. But there are question marks now over the competition in the wake of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India. On Thursday, India recorded 1,26,789 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to 1,29,28,574, according to the Health Ministry.

India remains the third-most affected nation globally, behind the United States and Brazil. The active cases stand at above nine lakh, which is 7.04 percent of the total infections, while the country’s recovery rate has dropped to 91.67 percent. But despite the alarming situation, the ICC is still not ready to consider a shift in venue.

We do have backup plans: ICC

Geoff Allardice, acting chief executive of the ICC, has said that there is not yet serious concern that the event may need to be postponed or relocated. He stated that the governing body of the game is well aware of what’s going around the world. He also insisted that the ICC should have a backup plan that can be activated when the time is right.

“We are certainly proceeding on the assumption that the event is going ahead as planned. We’re not oblivious to what is going on around the world and we continue to take updates on all aspects of how sporting events are being run and the situation in each country. Cricket is being played in a number of countries around the world, we’re taking lessons from all of those and proceeding as planned. We do have backup plans that can be activated when the time is right,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“We’re not anywhere near that timeline yet. We’ve got a number of months to be able to see how the situation is and how cricket events are being run. We’re in reasonably good shape at the moment but acknowledge the world is changing at a rapid rate,” added Allardice.

Allardice further expressed a firm preference for international players taking up the offer of a vaccine. At the same time, he admitted that pushing that issue any further is firmly outside his organization’s administrative remit.

“I think our medical committee and the board are recommending that participants should be vaccinated wherever possible. But the dynamics in each country will be different with the supply of the vaccine and the availability of vaccinations and where sports people or international sports people might be in the queue. The ICC wouldn’t be able to influence that at a national level but our overall message has been that we recommend participants coming to our events in the future are vaccinated wherever possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, BCCI is currently all set to host the IPL. The fourteenth edition of the competition is set to start on Friday (April 9). The home and away format is not in place this year. Only six venues will host the entire competition.