The Covid-19 virus has been that open wound on the face of the earth, which no one has found a resolution to. Ever since 2019; the people have found themselves amidst this pandemic, which has seen countries settling for lockdowns, quarantining themselves; and shutting every source of entertainment and income. Cricket has been no different. The lovers of the game have been kept away from it for a long time as most tours and series found themselves on the brink of cancellation. India recently crossed the twenty million mark for the number of Covid-19 cases that have been found in the country. A significant rise in the numbers since a tournament like IPL had been announced.
On Tuesday BCCI announced the biggest cricket league of the country, the Indian Premier League; which has millions of people feasting on it, will be postponed for an indefinite amount of time.
The tournament which was halfway towards its conclusion; now stands cancelled due to the virus which has managed to breach the biosecure bubbles and other layers of safety.
The Covid scare started with the postponement of Kolkata Knight Riders versus Royal Challengers Bangalore’s match after three KKR players were tested positive. Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier, and Pat Cummins were the first of the many who were found to be positive which also led the entire Delhi Capitals team to quarantine themselves. Nevertheless, BCCI’s idea to foresee the loopholes in the ICC Men’s T20 WC by hosting IPL as a dry run event was put to a permanent halt.
UAE Likely To Host ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
The fallout of IPL 2021 has not only caused panic around the Indian and foreign players but also has an air of uncertainty regarding the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup which was set to be hosted in India. The T20 World Cup would have materialized in 2020 in Australia, as per schedule; but was shifted to 2021 due to the increasing spread of the Covid-19 virus. Necessary changes had to be made in ICC’s cricketing calendar to fit this tournament in India in the month of October.
Clearly the massive spike of Covid-19 cases in India has spoken otherwise. Earlier this week the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had shortlisted a total of nine venues. All throughout the country which they deemed fit to host the tournament. The International Cricket Council(ICC) has been the handler of these global tournaments and to host an event as big as a World Cup will require the utmost safety of all the players, both foreign and home-grown. A group of ICC experts who would inspect the bio-safety and security of these stadiums were scheduled to visit India on April 26th. The plan went south as India closed its borders for foriegn flights and passengers which shut out these officials who would have flown in from Dubai.
Since then the Covid-19 outbreak has taken a massive structure in India and has led to another phase of partial lockdowns in different parts of the country. Consequently, ICC has grown unsure of India being a safe spot for hosting a global tournament. Given the current situation, the safety standards have taken quite a hit.
Subsequently, UAE have emerged as immediate contenders to host the tournament. India might just have lost its hosting rights; as it appears to be a hub of this virus which now has a third strain. ICC would definitely avoid putting the lives of the cricketers in danger; as hosting a 16-team global event would have more risks associated with it than a league like IPL.
Whereas UAE has hosted IPL 2020 with an absolute secure environment last year in the very wake of Covid-19. Although it is very early to dismiss India’s chances of hosting the World Cup; ICC will have to take an immediate decision as delaying would not resolve the problem.
ICC generally avoids all the last-minute hurry and decides the venues a year prior to the start of the tournament. The BCCI officials think it would be a premature decision to set aside India from hosting the World Cup. In a situation where the World Cup will be moved to UAE, and fans will be allowed inside the stadiums; the BCCI in India has asked for the revenues generated from tickets and matches to go to the Indian Board.