LAHORE, Pakistan, June 18 (Reuters) - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani has said the logistical challenge of keeping 16 teams in a bio-secure bubble to limit the risk of COVID-19 makes staging the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia this year “impossible”.
The governing International Cricket Council (ICC) is exploring contingency plans but has deferred a decision on the tournament until July.
While Australia has slowed novel coronavirus infections to a trickle, Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings said on Tuesday any expectations that the tournament would go ahead as planned in October-November were “unrealistic”.
Mani, an ICC board member, said in a virtual media briefing on Wednesday that the Australian government was still being “very cautious” about the COVID-19 risk.
“If it is played this year they will likely insist it happens in a bio-bubble,” he said.
“This is okay for one or two teams but when 12-16 teams play in a T20 tournament, it becomes an impossible thing. I don’t think it is feasible today that there is any ICC event in 2020.”
Mani expected the tournament to be rescheduled to 2021, with the edition scheduled for next year in India moved to 2022.
“ICC events were supposed to happen in 2020, 2021 and 2023. The gap in the middle can be filled and this will be deferred,” he said.
“That is where the talk is headed towards. What event will happen first and where, those talks are happening.”
The Indian board has said it was premature to talk about the possible rescheduling of the 2021 edition.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford