UAE, Oman in talks for hosting T20 World Cup - GulfToday

UAE, Oman in talks for hosting T20 World Cup


Photo used for illustrative purpose.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are in talks with Oman Cricket over hosting of some of the T20 World Cup matches later this year in the Gulf nation, a top Oman Cricket official has confirmed.

The ICC had, earlier this week, given BCCI a month’s time to show its readiness to host the tournament in October-November. With India’s chances to host it unlikely due to an expected third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, and things not improving drastically over the last few days, the world body has started to look at a venue besides UAE, which is already on standby.

“We have been approached by ICC and the chairman of Oman Cricket, Pankaj Khimji, is in talks with the BCCI which is due to host the tournament,” Madhu Jesrani, the Oman Cricket secretary, said from Muscat, the capital of the country.

“The talks with BCCI have just started. The ICC asked us for certain things that they are looking at in a hosting venue and we have given them the details. We have told them that we are ready. We have two turf pitch grounds, including one with floodlights,” added Jesrani.

Oman is one of 16 participating nations at this year’s T20 World Cup and cricket in the country is run by a business conglomerate, Khimji Ramdas.

“The Al Amerat Cricket Stadium has floodlights and it is 15-20 km from the airport,” he added.

While there are concerns the pitches at the three UAE venues won’t last two tournaments (76 matches in total), the burden would be eased by shifting some games to another country like Oman.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan organisers view the remainder of the country’s premier limited-overs league being staged in the UAE as a perfect rehearsal for the Twenty20 World Cup which has to be moved out of India because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said the PSL is an ideal precursor in terms of logistics and planning.

The PSL was postponed in March after several players and support staff were tested positive for the coronavirus.  But some logistical issues were there.

Khan said all those obstacles were overcome after the PCB worked closely with the Emirates Cricket Board, and it could help the ICC plan the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE.

“The logistical challenges that we found will be similar challenges, bringing more countries over from different parts of the world for the World Cup in the UAE,” Khan told the Associated Press.

The PSL “is a perfect precursor leading to the ICC decision, which is strongly considering UAE as the venue,” for the T20 World Cup.

The top PCB official said most of the ICC member nations would be comfortable playing the event in the UAE.

“Ultimately it’s a decision for the ICC, but right now, if you ask me, I would say that it’s likely to probably take place in the UAE,” Khan said.

Cricket officials are hopeful the coronavirus situation will improve in Pakistan in the coming months ahead of scheduled tours by New Zealand, England and West Indies. Australia is also due to tour Pakistan next February for the first time in 22 years.

“Certainly in 4 or 5 months’ time, we expect everything to be better in Pakistan from a COVID perspective,” Khan said. “We’ve got a huge amount of cricket coming up … and all the countries are relishing the opportunity of coming over.”

Security concerns that prevented foreign teams touring Pakistan have subsided, with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and South Africa playing limited-overs and test matches in Pakistan in recent seasons. Visiting teams are now more focused on secure bio-security bubbles in the pandemic.

“Security is no longer the No. 1 issue that people are asking about,” Khan said. “When South Africa were due to come and Zimbabwe, the question they were asking about was the (coronavirus) protocols – no longer about security.”

While Pakistan successfully hosted South Africa and Zimbabwe during the pandemic, it couldn’t maintain the impenetrable bio-secure bubble in Karachi during the PSL in March.

Khan said a PCB investigation later found “some holes or gaps that were created within the implementation of the actual bio-security that we’d created.”

But he added that similar breaches were found in other international events, including the Australian Open tennis tournament and English Premier League.

“This is a global phenomenon and cricket is not exempt from that,” Khan said.


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