The covid-19 pandemic situation in the entire world forced ICC and cricket boards of different countries to cancel or postpone many tours and tournaments. One big tournament that was postponed was the T20 Cricket World Cup that was to be held in Australia in December 2020. Last year in August 2020, ICC confirmed that India would host the T20 world cup in 2021. Sri Lanka and UAE were also chosen as backups if India was unable to host the World Cup. As the second wave of Covid-19 started in India, it was expected that the backup plans were soon to be implemented.
Amid a severe oxygen crisis in India in April 2021, ICC’s CEO, Geoff Allardice, confirmed that backup plans were still in place and implemented if India is unable to host the 2021 world cup. Lately, ICC is looking at UAE as the best and safest alternative. Former Australian captain Ian Chappell also commented that India should not host the 2021 Cricket World Cup when looking at the current situation. However, as late as 17th April 2021, BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) has gone ahead to host the 2021 World Cup by listing nine venues for cricket matches. Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, and Dharamsala are chosen as the venues, with Mumbai and Kolkata selected to host the semi-final and Ahmedabad to host the final. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ahmedabad cricket stadium was rebuild and launched as Narendra Modi stadium with the highest seat capacity in the world of more than 1 lakh seats. The stadium holds its first match on 24th February 2021, the 3rd test match between England and India that India had won. It organized its first t20i match on 12th March, 2021. It is also one of the venues of IPL matches played in bio-bubble and without any spectators.
At a time when the country is recording more than 3.5 lakh Covid-19 cases a day with more than 2800 people injured, the focus of the country should now be on how to save people, how to make more and more vaccines in a short period, and how to fix the oxygen crisis in various states. It is not the time the country’s resources should be utilized for hosting world cup tournaments. ICC should look for UAE or even Sri Lanka, which are much less affected by the pandemic. Both UAE and Sri Lanka are ready to host the 2021 Cricket T20 World Cup and have not provided travel restrictions to any country. India had already organized a T20 world cup in 2016, so nothing is disheartening for the Indian fans if the world cup is shifted somewhere else this year.
Written by – Himadri Paul