ICC postpones Australia’s T20 World Cup

COVID-19 has today (Monday) claimed its latest major event with the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirming that the 2020 Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia has been postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.

At today’s meeting of the IBC Board, the commercial subsidiary of the ICC, windows for the next three men’s events were also agreed in an attempt to bring clarity to the calendar and give the sport the best possible opportunity over the next three years to recover from the disruption caused by COVID-19.

In April, the ICC said it remained committed to staging this year’s Men’s T20 World Cup, after Australia also staged the women’s version from February 21 to March 8, and the Women’s 2021 World Cup.

The ICC’s major events are a hugely important revenue source for most of the world’s national governing bodies, with the Men’s T20 World Cup originally due to take place in Australia from October 18 to November 15, and New Zealand to host the Women’s World Cup from February 6 to March 7.

The ICC has today announced that Men’s T20 World Cups will now be held in October and November of 2021 and 2022, without specifying the host nations. India was originally due to stage the 2021 edition.

The next edition of the Men’s World Cup in 2023, which India is also hosting, will now also be moved from its original slot of February-March to October-November of that year. The IBC Board has agreed to continue to monitor the situation and assess all the information available in order to make a “considered decision” on future hosts to ensure the sport is able to stage safe and successful global events in 2021 and 2022.

The IBC Board will also continue to evaluate the situation in relation to being able to stage the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand in February next year. In the meantime, planning for this event continues as scheduled.

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “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.

“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.

“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.”