The International Cricket Council (ICC) today confirmed that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be staged in the UAE and Oman due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in India. The BCCI will remain the hosts of the event, which will now be held in Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground, from 17 October to 14 November 2021.
Acting ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said: “Our priority is to deliver the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 safely, in full and in its current window. Whilst we are incredibly disappointed not to be hosting the event in India, the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment. We will work closely with the BCCI, the Emirates Cricket Board and Oman Cricket to ensure fans can enjoy a wonderful celebration of cricket.”
Earlier, the pandemic situation in India forced the Indian Premier League to a premature halt when few players and support staff tested positive for the virus. Later, the BCCI decided to move the IPL to UAE which is tentatively set to start on September 19. Now, the ICC T20 World Cup will follow the IPL 2021.
BCCI Secretary, Jay Shah, said: “The BCCI made every effort to stage the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in India and provide its passionate fans with a reason to cheer after a long period of gloom. However, the prevailing pandemic situation in the country meant that the health and safety of everyone concerned was fraught with risk should a tournament of this stature is held across the country. The BCCI will continue to host the tournament, which will now be held in the UAE and Oman and work closely with the ICC to make it a memorable event.”
President BCCI Sourav Ganguly said: “The BCCI is looking forward to hosting the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 tournament in UAE and Oman. We would have been happier hosting it in India but considering the uncertainty due to the Covid 19 situation and the importance of a world championship, the BCCI will now continue to host this tournament in UAE and Oman. The BCCI is looking forward to creating a spectacle.”
UAE and Oman have welcomed the BCCI's decision to award them the hosting rights. While UAE has a proven track record in hosting big games successfully, this is the first big event in Oman. Oman Cricket Board Chairman Pankaj Khimji stated that his board would do everything to ensure they deliver a grand event to exceed BCCI and ICC's expectations.
Vice President Emirates Cricket Board, Khalid Al Zarooni said: “Emirates Cricket Board is honoured that the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control India) and the ICC (International Cricket Council) have entrusted us with staging and delivering the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The UAE’s reputation as being a safe country in which to host high-profile sporting events is a strong compliment to our government’s unwavering commitment to implementing and monitoring effective health practices during the pandemic. Having hosted a number of high-profile tournaments in recent months our team is well-prepared and ready to mobilise to ensure the success of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.”
Oman Cricket Chairman, Pankaj Khimji said, “It is indeed a great moment for Oman Cricket to be selected as a venue/host of the forthcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. We shall leave no stone unturned to exceed the requirements of BCCI and ICC. Oman will certainly extend a very warm welcome to all the teams, officials and media in October.”
(with inputs from ICC Media Release)