DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – International Cricket Council chief executive, Manu Sawhney, said the decision to postpone the men’s Twenty20 World Cup had been made in the interest of public health, following intense deliberations among stakeholders.
The tournament, where West Indies were expected to defend the title they won four years ago in India, was scheduled to be staged in Australia from October 18 to November 15 but the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic ended any hope of successfully staging the event.
Globally, the pandemic has resulted in 14.7 million infections and 611 000 deaths, triggering widespread lockdowns, halting travel and forcing a cessation of nearly all sport.
“We have undertaken a comprehensive and complex contingency planning exercise and through this process, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the sport,” said Sawhney.
“The decision to postpone the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world.
“Our Members now have the clarity they need around event windows to enable them to reschedule lost bilateral and domestic cricket. Moving the Men’s Cricket World Cup to a later window is a critical element of this and gives us a better chance of maintaining the integrity of the qualification process.
“This additional time will be used to reschedule games that might be lost because of the pandemic ensuring qualification can be decided on the field of play.”
He added: “Throughout this process we have worked closely with our key stakeholders including governments, Members, broadcasters, partners and medical experts to enable us to reach a collective decision for the good of the game and our fans. I would like to thank everyone involved for their commitment to a safe return to cricket.”
The ICC said the tournament would now be played between October and November next year, with another edition slated for the same period in 2022.
The windows for the Men’s events are:
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will be held October – November 2021 with the final on 14 November 2021
ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 will be held October – November 2022 with the final on 13 November 2022
ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 will be held in India October – November 2023 with the final on 26 November 2023
Australia has been under lockdown since March but has experienced a surge in cases in recent weeks following breaches in quarantine protocols.
The country has recorded over 12,000 cases and 126 deaths.
Cricket Australia’s interim chief executive, Nick Hockley, said they understood the rationale for the postponement.
“We accept the ICC’s decision to postpone the T20 World Cup in Australia. It was a decision made with the safety and wellbeing of fans, players, officials and staff in mind,” said Hockley, also the chief executive of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the ICC also said plans for next February’s Women’s 50-over World Cup was proceeding as normal but noted it could “continue to evaluate the situation” as it relates to COVID-19.
Competitive international cricket was halted last March because of the pandemic and the ongoing three-Test series between England and West Indies is the first tournament to be played since then.