T20 World Cup officially postponed
After months of speculation, the 16-team international men's tournament scheduled for this summer in Australia has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic
21 July 2020, 05:23 AM AEST
This year's men's T20 World Cup has officially been postponed, with the International Cricket Council hedging its bets on when the tournament might return to Australia.
After its latest teleconference hook-up on Monday, the International Cricket Council confirmed the tournament would move from its October-November window this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, paving the way for the Indian Premier League to fill the void.
The ICC has instead confirmed windows for the next three global men's tournaments, with men's T20 World Cups to be played in October-November 2021, and again in October-November 2022, while the 2023 ODI World Cup has also been pushed back from February-March to October-November of that year.
Future ICC events
2021 Women's ODI World Cup, 6 February to 7 March, New Zealand
2021 Men's T20 World Cup, October to 14 November, Host nation TBC (India or Australia)
2022 Women's T20 World Cup, dates TBC, South Africa
2022 Men's T20 World Cup, October to 13 November, Host nation TBC (India or Australia)
2023 Men's ODI World Cup, October to 26 November, India
Australia and India remain as hosts of the next two men's T20 World Cup events but which country hosts in which year is still to be determined, with the delay allowing the ICC to continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
India had originally been scheduled to host the 2021 men's T20 World Cup, and will also host the 2023 men's ODI World Cup.
The women's ODI World Cup remains scheduled to be played in New Zealand next February, while the next women's T20 World Cup remains scheduled for South Africa in 2022.
Tickets for the event in Australia will go off sale until the timing of the postponed event is confirmed, at which time a further update on ticket sales will be provided. Fans who have purchased tickets to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia are eligible for a refund.
If Australia hosts in 2021, tickets will remain valid for fans who have already bought and will be automatically updated to reflect the new dates.
If Australia hosts in 2022, for tickets already bought a full refund will be processed automatically.
Fans can stay up to date on event and ticketing information by registering at t20worldcup.com.
The postponement of the men's T20 World Cup from this year will potentially have far-reaching implications on the Australian summer, with impacts yet to be fully realised.
Attention now turns to the BCCI, which is expected to announce a full IPL schedule, with the United Arab Emirates now looming as the likely destination for this year's tournament with India having surpassed one million confirmed cases of coronavirus.
With 17 Australians who hold contracts worth a collective A$17.145 million set to play in that tournament, its end date – and the subsequent quarantine restrictions players will have on their arrival into Australia after it – will need to be factored into the Australian summer schedule.
That picture will become clearer in the coming weeks – although an IPL finish on the weekend of November 7-8 has long been touted, with Cricket Australia's chief priority to ensure the Border-Gavaskar Test series with India goes ahead.
The KFC BBL is scheduled to start on the same December 3 date as the Test series with India begins, and international players featuring in that T20 tournament will also need to quarantine, setting up the potential for a mass arrival of leading cricket talent in Australia after the IPL.
Exactly where those players would spend their quarantine, and their access to training facilities during that period, will be among chief concerns for administrators now.
The yet-to-be completed hotel attached to the Adelaide Oval could be seen as a potential option for the creation of a biosecurity 'bubble' similar to that created by the England and Wales Cricket Board that has seen it successfully host Tests against the West Indies in the midst of the pandemic.
Australia's leading players holding IPL contracts now face an extended period away from home in the lead-up to the home summer.
Australia named a 26-player preliminary squad with an eye towards a likely UK tour where they are set to play three T20s and three ODIs in early to mid-September.
News Corp has reported the England players with IPL contracts will join the Australians on a flight to the UAE, where they will quarantine ahead of the tournament, while the remainder of the Australian squad return home to quarantine.
The men's T20 World Cup had been scheduled to be held in Australia for the first time, running from October 18 through to the final at the MCG on November 15, and involved 15 international teams flying in to join hosts Australia.
The biosecurity and logistical challenges of organising such a large and complex international tournament, and the fact it was unlikely to be able to played with crowds at all venues, meant the ICC was left with little choice but to confirm the widely anticipated postponement.
"We looked at options like air bubbles, could we have it in reduced venues, could we play behind closed doors," Sawhney said, adding the event required close to 20,000 accredited people to be held properly.
"And we also looked at the information we were getting from government authorities. Taking that all into consideration we took the decision to postpone the tournament.
"A primary focus for us was that we need to maintain a certain level of stature for the events while ensuring that health and safety is clearly maintained."
The men's T20 World Cup had been expected to follow in the footsteps of the women's event that was held in February and March and culminated in an Australian victory in the final with more than 86,000 fans in attendance.
That March 8 event was held just days before the COVID-19 pandemic saw world sport grind to a halt, and it was later confirmed at least one person who attended the MCG sell-out later tested positive for the coronavirus.
The loss of the men's event is a blow to venues in Geelong and Hobart which had expected to host six of the first-round qualifying matches each.
Two further 'Super 12' games had been scheduled for Blundstone Arena, making the Hobart venue the busiest of the seven locations. Under CA's published international scheduled for this summer, Tasmania would not see any international cricket until late January.
Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley, who had been heading up the local organising committee for the T20 World Cup until stepping in to the CA role after Kevin Roberts' departure, said the aim was to use the same venues when the tournament is eventually held.
"We are confident that with this decision, we will give ourselves the best chance to safely welcome fans into the outstanding venues across the country to enjoy watching the world's best men's cricketers compete in this major global event in either 2021 or 2022," Hockley said.
The men's T20 event was last run in April 2016, when the West Indies won the title in India with a memorable finish from Carlos Brathwaite who clubbed Ben Stokes for four successive sixes in the final over.
Australia's men have never won the T20 World Cup, the only major global trophy missing from the nation's trophy cabinet. Their best finish was runner-up in 2010 when they were beaten in the final by England.
They have only made the final four on two other occasions, failing to get out of the group stage in the past two tournaments in 2014 and 2016.