It was the year of T20, after a successful Women’s World T20, headlined by a magnificent turnout at the Final, attention then turned to the men’s edition to be held in October-November.
Meanwhile, all cricket came to a standstill in March, which immediately threw the World T20 in doubt. The ICC has deferred the final call until June 10, but the reality is that the tournament is under a very high risk.
Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Oman will feature in the Qualification Stage of this year’s tournament, which makes this situation a disappointing one for them. Also, Cricket Australia would lose an estimated AU$20 million, if the tournament does not go ahead. These parties will hope it goes ahead, but the below are three key reasons why it might not.
1. A World Cup with no crowds? Not ideal
Australian Sports Minister, Richard Coelbeck, said that the absence of crowds could mean the World T20 doesn’t go ahead.
Now, COVID-19 restrictions are easing in Australia, however, that does not mean that stadiums will be full by the time October-November comes around. Whether restrictions lift further will depend on how things fare in June-July; governments will open stadiums to the public only if they deem that it is completely safe to do so.
The issue with that is the ICC is seeking to make a decision in early June. So, the game’s governing body will need to make a decision with what is front of them, and given that the pandemic is still rife around the globe, it could result in postponing, likely to 2021 or 2022.
2. Logistical Arrangements
15 teams will compete in this year’s World T20, with 45 matches to be played across seven different venues. With international travel at a standstill given the pandemic, as well as certain states still closing their borders in Australia, the tournament organisers will have to negotiate and iron out all the logistical arrangements to get this tournament going.
Also, the 14-day isolation period required for all teams arriving in Australia adds to the challenge.
Originally scheduled for March 29, before postponed to April 15, the IPL is suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 situation in India. The Indian government, however, has begun relaxing restrictions on sporting events, allowing them to take place behind closed doors. This means that IPL could still take place in 2020.
Given that BCCI, which generates approximately 80% of ICC’s revenue, will lose an estimated Rs. 4000 crore (US$529.6M), organisers will do whatever they can to ensure the tournament goes ahead, even with no crowds.
Should the World T20 not go ahead, this opens up the possibility of India staging IPL 2020 in the October-November window. Also, in contrast to the World T20, it puts onus on individuals choosing to travel to India for the IPL, rather than 15 countries.
So, if the IPL can go ahead, you feel that organisers will do everything they can to make it happen.
Cover picture credits: DNAIndia