After reports earlier in the day suggested that postponement of this year’s men’s T20 World Cup in Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic was just mere formality, an International Cricket Council spokesperson has denied such a decision being made on Thursday.
The delay to T20 WC is expected to open up a window for the Indian Premier League in October, and multiple reports quoting ICC sources said the board was set to formailise the postponement during the teleconference meeting scheduled for Thursday.
If formalised, the decision was also expected members a chance to chalk out their bilateral blue-print in the coming months.
“There is a good chance that postponement of World T20 will be decided during Thursday’s board meeting. Whether there will be a formal announcement or not is the question,” an ICC board member told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“There is very little chance of World T20 going ahead in this situation. I don’t think either Cricket Australia or the top boards will mind.”
But an ICC spokesperson has denied such a call being imminent.
“The ICC has not taken a decision to postpone the T20 World Cup and preparations are ongoing for the event in Australia this year as per plan. The topic is on the agenda for the ICC Board meeting tomorrow (Thursday) and a decision will be made in due course,” a spokesperson is quoted as saying by the Times of India.
UPDATE: Here’s the ICC statement issued on Thursday
The ICC Board met [Wednesday] to discuss the process for electing the next Chair of the ICC. No final decision was taken regarding the election process and the subject will be discussed further at the next ICC Board meeting on Thursday.
The existing Chair (Shashank Manohar) confirmed he was not seeking any extension to his term but would support the Board to ensure a smooth transition.
Additionally, reports of a postponement of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 are inaccurate and planning for the event continues whilst a number of contingency plans are being explored in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by Covid-19 (pandemic).
It had been reported on May 15 that ICC’s Events Committee led by Chris Tetley could present multiple options and that members are likely to seriously contemplate shifting the tournament to October-November, 2022 while India hosts its edition in 2021 per plan.
India’s scheduled tour of Australia at the end of the year could get a boost if member boards are likely to give more precedence to bilateral engagements to recover from the financial losses incurred during the pandemic.
The board member also said that it’s not only about the countries but also about broadcasters Star Sports, which incidentally holds rights for both the ICC events as well as BCCI’s media and the IPL rights.
“There are a few questions that need to be asked. The commercial viability of having a T20 World Cup in February-March 2021. Before that, an IPL in October-November window and another IPL in the March-May window,” a BCCI insider privy to the broadcast deals said.
“So we are looking at three big-ticket tournaments in six months. In this current economic scenario, that will be a very bad call,” he added.
He also listed the bilateral engagements that the BCCI will agree to.
“India is most certainly going to Australia and England is coming for a five-match series in India. As far as South Africa T20 series is concerned, let Cricket South Africa decide where they stand as far as ICC policy matters are concerned,” the source said.
“With Chris Nenzani, BCCI will only believe when he puts pen to paper,” he added.
It was earlier reported that India could play three T20Is in South Africa at the end of August as part of a prior agreement, provided the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic improves substantially.
The organisation of the Indian Premier League will also largely depend on India’s Covid-19 situation during that time but with the government trying to bring in normalcy, the T20 league could get a five-week condensed window to go ahead.
Some of the issues that BCCI as well as all other stakeholders will be dealing with include, limited or no spectators as per ICC regulations.
Limited number of venues and increase in double-headers could be the way forward. Also the organisation should be in such a manner that all foreign players coming in might need to go for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Process to elect next chairman
The process of nomination to elect the new chairman will start soon. While England and Wales Cricket Board’s former chairman Colin Graves is the favourite, tables could well turn as BCCI president Sourav Ganguly might throw his hat in the ring.
While there has been no formal announcement from the BCCI, treasurer Arun Dhumal in a recent interview to PTI said that “Ganguly has the credentials” to become one.
South Africa’s Director of Cricket and former captain Graeme Smith had also called for Ganguly to be the next chairman.
Tax exemption for 2021 T20 World Cup
The ICC Board is also likely to discuss the issue of tax exemption for the 2021 T20 World Cup in India as BCCI has sought more time due to the lockdown in order to get a clearer picture from the government.
Already, the 2016 World T20 tax rebate issue has been referred to the tribunal. The deadline to get tax exemption was December 2019 but it is understood that the BCCI can hardly do anything when it comes to the country’s existing tax laws.
“If they didn’t change it in 2016 World T20, why would they change the rule in 2021. And also the tax exemption is primarily on waiver of import duty of broadcast equipments.
“We can understand that exemption is required in Australia but here Star has a fully operational set-up with all production equipments. Why do you require exemption?” the BCCI official asked.
With PTI Inputs