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Sports

T20 World Cup moved to UAE and Oman; ICC confirms

  • The BCCI had already said on Monday the tournament would be shifted.
Published June 29, 2021

NEW DELHI: The Twenty20 World Cup has been shifted to the United Arab Emirates and Oman due to the coronavirus situation in India, the cricket's world body confirmed on Tuesday.

The tournament was originally meant to happen in India but it is emerging from a Covid-19 surge in April and May and experts fear a new wave of cases later this year.

"Our priority is to deliver the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 safely, in full and in its current window," said Geoff Allardice, acting chief executive of the International Cricket Council.

"Whilst we are incredibly disappointed not to be hosting the event in India, the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India had already said on Monday the tournament would be shifted.

The event will take place from 17 October to 14 November.

It will be held across four venues -- the Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.

The ICC had given the BCCI a deadline of the end of June to decide the host country for T20's showpiece event due to the high number of Covid-19 cases in India.

The BCCI had already moved the suspended Indian Premier League to the UAE in September-October after the T20 tournament was halted on May 4 due to a number of players and team officials being infected with Covid.

At the time India was experiencing a massive surge in Covid-19 cases that overwhelmed the health system in many places, and much of the country was under lockdown.

India, home to 1.3 billion people, has eased many lockdown restrictions in recent weeks following a sharp fall in the number of new infections.

But health officials fear that a new wave could sweep across the country, the world's second-most infected after the United States, later this year.

The pandemic disrupted the global cricket calendar last year and even after the matches resumed in July 2020, players have been confined to strict bio-bubbles and quarantine protocols.

The ICC postponed the T20 World Cup originally scheduled to be held in Australia in 2020.

India was handed the hosting rights in 2021 and Australia was chosen as host for the 2022 edition.

The UAE has been a preferred destination for cricket as the Pakistan Super League was completed last week in the Gulf nation. The IPL was also held in the UAE last year.

"We would have been happier hosting it in India but considering the uncertainty due to the Covid 19 situation and the importance of a world championship, the BCCI will now continue to host this tournament in UAE and Oman," said BCCI President Sourav Ganguly.

"The BCCI is looking forward to creating a spectacle."

The first round of the T20 World Cup, comprising eight qualifying teams, will be split between Oman and UAE. Four of these teams will then progress to the Super 12s round where they will join the eight automatic qualifiers.

The teams competing in the preliminary stage are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia, Oman and Papua New Guinea, before the play-off stage and the final on November 14.

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