For now, the ICC plans to ‘go ahead with the event as scheduled’ even as India grapples with a second wave of Covid-19
Geoff Allardice, the interim CEO of the ICC, has said that he expects the upcoming T20 World Cup in India to go ahead as planned, but that the governing body has back-up plans in place should the country not be able to host the tournament.
With only six months remaining before it is scheduled to host the T20 World Cup, India is grappling with a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the country reporting more than 115,000 new cases on April 6 alone.
“Yes, we have [back-up plans],” Allardice said in an interaction with select media agencies on Wednesday. “But at this stage we haven’t activated those plans, because we are preparing to go ahead with the event in India as scheduled.
“We’re working with the BCCI and different elements of that event at the moment, but we do have back-up plans that can be activated when the time’s right.”
Allardice said there is still some time to go before the ICC might think of activating its back-up plans, and that its immediate focus will be on the World Test Championship final, which India and New Zealand are scheduled to contest in Southampton from June 18 to 22.
“We’re not anywhere near that timeline yet,” Allardice said. “We’ve certainly got a number of months to be able to see how the situation is and how cricket events are being run. We’ve obviously got our World Test Championship final which is coming up in a couple of months too. [It’s] one match and two teams, but it’s still got its own challenges. We’re proceeding with both as planned at this stage.”
The emergence of multiple Covid-19 vaccines around the world represents a possible way for cricket to loosen some of the biosecure protocols that have been in place for most high-profile events since the pandemic began. Allardice, however, said the ICC was not in a position to negotiate mandatory player vaccinations with governments around the world, even before a multi-team event like the T20 World Cup.
“I think our medical committee and our board are recommending that participants should be vaccinated wherever possible, but I think the dynamic in each country is going to be different, both with the supply of vaccine or the availability of vaccine, and where sportspeople or international sportspeople might be in the queue to receive those vaccines,” he said. “The ICC wouldn’t be able to influence anything like that at a national level, but our overall message has been, we recommend that participants coming to our events in the future are vaccinated wherever possible.”