UAE and Oman to be back-up venues
The International Cricket Council has given BCCI time till June 28 to take a call on whether it would host the marquee T20 World Cup in India amid the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ICC Board met virtually on Tuesday with India being represented by BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah. The T20 World Cup is due in October-November this year.
The BCCI sought a month's time and the ICC board unanimously agreed to give that for a detailed assessment of the health situation in the country, which has been left battered by a second wave of the raging pandemic.
"Yes, the ICC board has agreed to BCCI's request and they will have time till June 28 to decide on hosting the T20 World Cup in India. They will come back to the board next month with a concrete plan," a source close to the ICC Board said on Tuesday.
If the BCCI is unable to host the event in India given the looming threat of a third wave of the pandemic, the tournament will shift to the UAE after it gets done with hosting the IPL, which is likely to finish on October 10.
The ICC Board is also likely to keep Oman's Muscat as the back-up venue for the preliminary round games of the upcoming edition.
"The ICC Board has requested management focus its planning efforts for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 on the event being staged in the UAE with the possibility of including another venue in the Middle East," an ICC release said.
"A final decision on the host country will be taken later this month. The Board also confirmed that the BCCI will remain the hosts of the event regardless of where the event is played."
The BCCI was also mulling a couple of more windows in 2022 in case October-November is not feasible in India but there is little chance of that happening.
"The BCCI is very keen on organising a global tournament in India. They don't want to let it go. But if you can read between the lines it will be very difficult to hold it in India if there is a third wave at the end of September. While the cases are on decline but still India is reporting more than 100k cases per day," an ICC board member said.
As of now, the chances of T20 World Cup happening in India doesn't look very bright and the only option they have is to hold it in Mumbai belt which has three grounds like Wankhede, Brabourne and DY Patil just like the UAE.
However, the Pakistan team playing in Mumbai could be a risky proposition and also the local state government Shiv Sena's stand on the issue also needs to be factored in.
"The only option if it happens in India is to organise Pakistan's group matches in Ahmedabad. There is no chance of nine-city tournament," a BCCI source said.
ICC to expand 50 over World Cup to 14 teams; hold World T20 every two years in next cycle
The T20 World Cup will be held every two years during the next eight-year Futures Tours & Programme (FTP) cycle while the 50-over event will be a 14-team affair from the 2027 edition, the game's governing body ICC said.
Also as per PTI's earlier report, the World Test Championship will have four editions in the next cycle apart from two Champions Trophy.
"The ICC Board today confirmed the schedule of ICC events from 2024-2031 with both the men's Cricket World Cup and men's T20 World Cup to be expanded and a men's Champions Trophy to be re-introduced," the global body said in a release issued after the board meeting.
"The men's Cricket World Cup will become a 14 team, 54-match event in 2027 and 2031, whilst the men's T20 World Cup will be expanded to a 20 team, 55-match event in 2024, 2026, 2028 and 2030."
The 50-over format currently is a 10-team event while this edition of T20 World Cup will be a 16-team affair.
"An eight team Champions Trophy will be hosted in 2025 and 2029. World Test Championship Finals will be hosted in 2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031. The ICC Women's event schedule has already been confirmed with the expansion of both the Cricket World Cup and T20 World Cup forming part of the ICC's long-term commitment to growing the women's game," it further stated.
The men's World Cup format will have two groups of seven, with the top three in each group progressing to a Super Six stage, followed by semi-finals and final.
This is the same format that was used in the 2003 edition. The format of the T20 World Cup will consist of four groups of five, with the top two from each group going through to a Super Eights stage, followed by the knockout stages of semi-finals and a final.
The Champions Trophy will follow previous editions with two groups of four, semi-finals and final.
The ICC Board also approved the process for determining the hosts for all men's, women's and U-19 events in the next cycle.
The hosts for the men's events will be decided in September following a selection process that will get underway this month.
The hosting process for women's and U-19 events will commence in November and will be an opportunity to engage with a wider range of Members including first-time hosts.
"Having the ICC event schedule confirmed through to 2031 is a significant step forward for cricket and will form the basis of our growth strategy for the next decade," ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said.
"The revised approach to selecting hosts for our events will give us much more flexibility to grow the game and engage new fans. There is a smaller pool of countries with the infrastructure needed to host our senior men's events which narrows the selection process."
"Additionally, many of our Members expressed interest in hosting Women's and U19 events which gives us a great opportunity to stage events in established and emerging cricket nations."