India will be hosting the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as originally planned while Australia will host the 2022 edition after the tournament to be held in 2020 was postponed, the global governing body confirmed on Friday.
In addition, the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup, scheduled to be held in New Zealand in February-March 2021, has been pushed to 2022 “because of the impact the pandemic has had on cricket globally”, the International Cricket Council said.
The decisions were taken by the IBC (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC) “following an extensive contingency planning exercise which has taken into account the health, cricket and commercial impact of Covid-19 around the world,” the statement read.
ICC Acting Chairman Imran Khwaja said: “The decisions the Board have taken today are in the best interests of the sport, our partners and importantly our fans. I’d like to thank our partners at the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand as well as the Australian and New Zealand governments for their continued support and commitment to a safe return to ICC events.”
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said: “We now have absolute clarity on the future of ICC events enabling all of our Members to focus on the rescheduling of lost international and domestic cricket. We will now proceed as planned with the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in India and host the 2022 edition in Australia.
“We have taken the decision to move the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup to give players from every competing nation, the best opportunity to be ready for the world’s biggest stage and there is still a global qualifier to complete to decide the final three teams.
“There has been no women’s international cricket played since the conclusion of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year and due to the varying impact of Covid-19 globally that is likely to remain the situation for a number of the teams. Moving the event by 12 months gives all competing teams the chance to play a sufficient level of cricket ahead of both the qualification event and leading into a Cricket World Cup so the integrity of the tournament is maintained.”
The ICC confirmed that the format of the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will remain as it was for 2020 and all teams that qualified for that event will now participate in India in 2021. A new qualification process will be run for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
The format of the postponed ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will also remain as it was for 2021. Five teams have already qualified for the event (including India) and that will stand for 2022. The original global qualification event to determine the final three teams to contest the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup was scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in July 2020, but this was postponed due to the pandemic. The qualification event will now be held in 2021.
The men’s T20 World Cup, which was scheduled to be held in Australia from October 18 this year, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making way for the Indian Premier League to be held from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates.
“BCCI were never keen to host the 2022 event which would have meant that they had to host back to back ICC events including the 50-over World Cup in 2023. That wasn’t a viable option,” an ICC Board member told PTI.
It is a big setback for the women’s game with the much-awaited World Cup being pushed by a year.
In the immediate short-term, the postponement also raises doubts about the future of India legends such as Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, who probably would have played their last ICC tournament in 2021. But ODI captain Mithali tweeted immediately “same vision, same goal” in response to the postponement.