ICC to wait and watch before deciding T20 World Cup fate

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A view of the ICC Board Meeting in session Getty Images

The ICC has bought further time before making a decision on the fate of the men’s T20 World Cup, as it keeps tabs on the encouraging progress Australia and New Zealand are making against the Covid-19 pandemic. The tournament is scheduled to be played this October-November in Australia, but the chances of it going ahead have not looked especially promising in recent weeks. Less than a fortnight ago, Cricket Australia (CA)’s chief executive Kevin Roberts said the tournament was at “very high risk.”

But this week Richard Colbeck, the Australian Sports Minister, told Sportstar that the country had flattened the pandemic curve and consequently was a “fitting host for an international sporting spectacle” and could even allow spectators based on the ground situation at the time. Earlier in May Colbeck had pointed out that it was the crowds – and not the 16 participating teams – that was the main hurdle for hosting the marquee event. New Zealand, where the women’s World Cup is scheduled to be held in February-March next year, has recently declared itself pandemic-free, leading the ICC to believe it can afford to wait a bit more while different alternatives are worked out in case the T20 World Cup is deferred to 2021.

On Wednesday, the ICC board agreed to continue discussing a number of options, as part of the contingency planning, “whilst planning for delivery of the events in the scheduled window is ongoing.”

“The situation surrounding the global pandemic is evolving rapidly and we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make the right decision for the whole sport,” the ICC’s chief executive Manu Sawhney said. “The health and well-being of everyone involved is our priority and other considerations fall out from that.

“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.”

The meeting on Wednesday picked up from the last session, which was adjourned after the international scheduling agenda was overtaken by concerns within the board over confidentiality. An independent investigation into that issue continues but one upshot from today was the decision to extend the deadline to the BCCI to come up a solution to the tax issue around ICC events in India.

The matter has been the source of some tension between the ICC and BCCI, as communication between the two revealed, and has raised the prospect of the hosting rights of ICC events being taken away from India. The ICC wants its events hosted in India to be exempt from an Indian government tax, which, the board has said, cost it a considerable sum in earnings in 2016, when the last T20 World Cup was held in the country.

“The board discussed the ongoing issue of tax exemptions required for ICC events and agreed to extend the deadline given to the BCCI to provide a tax solution to December 2020.” (ESPNCricinfo)