Monday, May 18, 2020

PCB to support T20 World Cup plans but to certain extent: Wasim Khan

Wasim Khan says that there will be support only if players' safety can be guaranteed.

The future of the ICC T20 World Cup looks uncertain. Photo: AFP

Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Chief Executive Wasim Khan has clarified that the board will support the timely staging of the ICC T20 World Cup as long as it could ensure players' safety, The News reported.

This year’s World Cup in Australia is likely to be postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and it would be grave news for all stakeholders, considering that the 16-nation tournament is seen as the biggest cricketing spectacle of the year.

Cricket boards all over the world and especially the ones already feeling the financial crunch like the PCB would be hit hard in case the money-spinning global tournament is pushed to next year.

Therefore it comes to no surprise when a top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official announced his support for the T20 World Cup to be held as scheduled in the last quarter of 2020.

"We (PCB) believe that unless there is a Covid-19 reason, this year’s Twenty20 World Cup should happen as scheduled," Wasim said.

"So, Pakistan will support the idea of having the tournament this year. We will back Australia if they plan to go ahead but not at all costs. Players’ safety will have to come first,” he stressed.

Wasim did admit that having the T20 World Cup as planned (from October 18 to November 15) was going to be a huge logistical challenge for the organisers.

"It’s certainly going to be a real logistical challenge," he said.

"I mean there would be 16 teams competing in the event so you’ll need to devise plans to implement various necessary protocols like social distancing."

There have been reports that ICC and the Australian organisers have made up their mind to postpone the tournament by 12 months but Wasim doesn’t think that any decision has been made.

"There won’t be any quick decisions," he said.

"There is going to be an ICC chief executives meeting early next month in which this issue is going to be discussed. A decision to postpone the event is going to have major repercussions."

Moving the T20 World Cup to next year will have a knock-on effect on the entire international cricket calendar. The 2021 Twenty20 World Cup to be held in India will be pushed to 2022 and the 50-over World Cup in February 2023 in India will also have to be moved.

There were calls to move this year’s T20 World Cup to early next year but there is no window big enough in the ICC calendar to fit it in during that time. There are major events like India’s five match Test series against England starting late January.

All of this will be discussed by chief executives of cricket boards from around the world during ICC’s two-day teleconference on June 4-5.