James Richardson looks ahead at the COVID-affected T20 World Cup which will be hosted by India later this year.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
What we know
We know that the seventh ICC Men’s T20 World Cup tournament will be hosted by India in October and November 2021.
India were always slated to host a T20 World Cup this year but that was put in doubt when the 2020 edition, which was to be held in Australia was cancelled. Australia will host the tournament at a later stage.
All 16 participating teams have sealed their places at the tournament which will take on the format proposed for the 2020 tournament for which the teams originally qualified.
Apart from Ireland and Zimbabwe all the full members of the ICC qualified for the tournament on the basis of their world ranking. The Irish would reach the tournament thanks to their performance in the qualifier while Zimbabwe missed out due to a temporary suspension from the ICC over governance issues, which prevented them from entering the qualifier tournament.
The Netherlands, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and Oman round out the entries. PNG and Namibia will be playing in the tournament for the first time.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will join the six qualifiers in the two groups of four teams that will play in the tournaments preliminary round. The top two teams from each group will then join the Super 12 round which will see two groups of six play round-robin matches.
If the tournament uses the same draw this will see Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, and the West Indies grouped together with Sri Lanka favourite to join them as winners of a preliminary group along with the second-placed team from the designated Group B.
South Africa are grouped together with India, England and Afghanistan with Bangladesh expected to join as winners of their preliminary group if they can avoid banana skins.
What we don’t know
As yet the venues and fixtures for the T20 World Cup remain something of a mystery, with the BCCI working on several plans for the hosting of a major event in the midst of a pandemic.
Another question is whether or not fans will be allowed into the ground, and further whether or not foreign supporters will be allowed into India to back their team.
It is expected that the ‘World’s Largest Cricket Stadium’ in Ahmedabad will play host to a significant number of matches and is likely to stage the final itself.
April’s IPL will allow the BCCI to work out some kinks in their plans but so much will depend upon what happens elsewhere, and there really is no way to be certain what the finished product will look like.
Written by James Ricahrdson.