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T20 World Cup: UAE, Oman’s chances brighten further to play hosts

Kolkata: The chances of the UAE along with Oman hosting the T20 World Cup in October-November, instead of India, brightened further with the top brass of Indian cricket board in the UAE trying to work out a blueprint to ensure the presence of top foreign professionals in the remaining part of IPL 2021.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) had, following their Board meeting on June 1, revealed that the UAE alongwith another Gulf country has been asked to be on stand-by to host the World T20 though a final call would be taken after getting a feedback from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the issue after June 28. The BCCI, it is learnt, will be taking it to the doorstep of Indian government in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country alongwith the pending issue of tax emption before reverting to ICC.

However, the core team of president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, vice president Rajiv Shukla, treasurer Arun Dhumal and IPL chairman Brijesh Patel - who are camping in Dubai - have moved into full swing since then to work on a blueprint which ensures participation of the likes of Jos Buttler and David Warner in the UAE as well as activating their ‘‘Plan B’’ on staging the World Cup.

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‘‘It’s increasingly becoming obvious that there is a logistical requirement of hosting both the IPL and the World Cup in the same country now. This is the only way by which countries reluctant to release their players so close to the World T20 may be convinced to do so as it eliminates the risk of travel,’’ highly placed sources have confirmed to Gulf News.

Incidentally, there will be no change in status of India as hosts of the World T20 - irrespective of wherever it’s being held.

The remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021, which was suspended in India on May 4 with positive cases of COVID-19 being reported in teams, will then billed as ‘‘warm-up’’ matches for the World T20. The matches are scheduled for a September 18-19 start and there will be eight double headers to squeeze the fixtures in a tentatively three-week window.

In a bid to address the technical issue of handing over the three international venues of the UAE to ICC at least two weeks before the event, the neighbouring country of Oman has been co-opted with an eye to host the qualifiers there. The qualifiers, comprising of associate countries, is likely to kickstart the tournament tentatively on October 18.