In an attempt to safeguard the fate of the 2021 World T20 planned to take place in India, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has named two back-up venues for the tournament. Earlier today, the ICC officially announced Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates as stand-by hosts; should India, for some reason or another, be unable to do so.
Backup venues picked keeping COVID-19 in mind
Although the official announcement did not reveal anything concrete, the decision to pick reserves has, most likely, been made owing to the deteriorating COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country. At the time of writing, India ranks third on the global leaderboards on positive COVID-cases recorded; trailing just behind the United States and Brazil. The current nation-wide death-toll reads more than 45,000, with more than 2 million Coronavirus patients. Backup venues aren’t a concept inherently novel to the cricket-world, but given the ongoing global, health-crisis situation; the implementation has become more clutch than ever.
ICC’s decision to name reserves, while not particularly alarming, does raise some uncertainty around the sub-continent country’s viability as hosts. The ICC shifted from their original hosts of choice, Australia, only last week; when they deemed the situation Down-Under sufficiently unsafe for organizing the mega-event. Likewise, should the health-curves in India fail to show any improvement by the time the tournament starts; either of Sri Lanka or UAE will get to be the new hosts.
Busy schedule awaits the BCCI in 2023; ICC Cricket World cup and IPL in India
Meanwhile, the BCCI highlighted that they specifically agreed on the 2021 hosts slot over the alternate 2023-one to not overload their schedule. The 2023 calendar is already jam-packed with the 2023 ODI World Cup and the IPL. Taking up yet another World Cup hosting duty would, undoubtedly, complicate matters; hence the BCCI decided not to contend for the 2023-slot.