ICC's interim CEO Geoff Allardice on Wednesday (April 7) said the body has backup plans in place for the T20 World Cup in India later this year but is currently not entertaining any thoughts of moving it out of the country despite a surge in COVID-19 cases. The tournament is scheduled to be held in October-November in India, which is reporting over one lakh daily cases for the past few days. Amid the COVID surge, the IPL is due to start on Friday in Chennai behind closed doors.
"We are certainly proceeding with the event as planned," Allardice said during a virtual media round-table.
"Plan B we have, but we haven't activated those plans yet. We are working with the BCCI, we do have backup plans that can be activated if the time comes," he added.
Allardice, ICC's general manger - cricket, was recently made the interim CEO after Manu Sawhney was sent on "leave" after his conduct came under the scanner during an internal investigation by UK-based audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The 53-year-old Australian, who has played domestic cricket in his country, said the ICC is also in touch with other sports bodies to understand how they are managing in the COVID era. "Cricket is being played in a number of countries at the moment and we are learning from all of them.
"We have been talking to other sports bodies about what they are doing, we are in a good shape at the moment but acknowledge that the world is changing at a rapid rate.
"We have also got the World Test Championship final coming up in two months' time, but we are proceeding with both as planned," he said.
The UAE, which hosted the IPL last year, could be one of the backup venues for the shortest format's biggest international event should the situation demand a shift. During the interaction, he was also asked about the Decision Review System (DRS), of which the contentious Umpire's Call is a part, something that was dubbed confusing by India captain Virat Kohli during the limited-overs engagements against England.
Allardice said there was "a good discussion" on DRS during the recent ICC Board Meeting. "DRS was designed to overturn the clear errors. There has been no wholesale changes in it.
"I think more and more when you see a replay, the natural reaction is what can we do...Overruling a clear error... We have got to a point where we are using technology to get correct decisions but striving for perfection becomes impossible.
"We are very comfortable with where we are at the moment," he said.
Allardice acknowledged the challenges countries are facing in order to host cricket matches and tournaments in terms of maintaining communication with their respective governments. "The vaccination role in different countries might change the dynamics... They have done an amazing job in the last 10 months in hosting matches."
He also admitted that COVID-19 has affected the women's game. When asked if the pandemic has pushed back women's cricket just at a time when it was gaining momentum following the roaring success of the last T20 World Cup in Australia, he said, "Last 3-4 years the momentum we built around international cricket is fantastic. The final (between India and Australia) (at a packed) MCG was a special moment.
"Then COVID hit and made life very difficult to reestablish it. That will be the focus in the next 12 months."