The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that this year’s Twenty20 World Cup will be moved to the United Arab Emirates and Oman amid the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, which had originally been due to host the tournament.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India will remain the host of the event, which will now be held at the Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi (pictured), the Sharjah Stadium and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground. The event will be held from October 17 to November 14 as originally planned.
The ICC’s confirmation comes after the BCCI had earlier stated its intention for the event to be relocated. As India continues to deal with the impact of the pandemic, the ICC had given the BCCI until the end of June to decide whether it would be capable of hosting the event.
In an email to members seen by ESPNcricinfo, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said: “It was not an easy decision and we mulled over it for months, constantly keeping an eye on the COVID-19 situation all along.
“However, with the second wave causing such devastation, the decision ultimately boiled down to the safety and well-being of the players and organisers. Although vaccination in the country is going at breakneck speed, there are reports of a third wave and different variants which we cannot ignore.”
Geoff Allardice, acting chief executive of the ICC, 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.”
The T20 World Cup has not been held since India hosted the event in 2016. Australia had been due to stage the tournament last year before the ICC postponed the event due to the pandemic.
The ICC said at the time that India would stage this year’s tournament as originally scheduled, with Australia to now host the 2022 edition.
The BCCI has already been forced to relocate the remainder of this year’s Indian Premier League season to the UAE. The tournament was postponed in early May after a number of players tested positive for COVID-19, and the season will now conclude in the UAE in September and October.
The UAE also staged last year’s IPL due to the COVID-19 situation in India at the time.