India looks to UAE as backup to host T20 World Cup in wake of Covid crisis - report

Record number of cases and deaths in country cast shadow over tournament

The Indian cricket board has confirmed it is exploring the possibility of this year's T20 World Cup moving to the UAE if the coronavirus crisis in the country continues to worsen.

India is scheduled to host this year's T20 showpiece event in October but the country has been struggled against a record number of Covid cases and deaths over the past week.

The country reported 379,257 new cases and 3,645 fatalities on Thursday, the highest number of deaths in a single day in India since the start of the pandemic.

The alarming situation has forced many foreign players to leave the ongoing Indian Premier League, with question marks over the feasibility of the league during the second wave.

The UK and Australia are among numerous countries to effectively ban travel from India, and there are growing concerns over the feasibility of staging the T20 World Cup later in the year.

Dhiraj Malhotra, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) general manager for game development, hopes the tournament remains in India.

"I've just been named one of the tournament directors, so I'm doing everything we can to make sure it happens," Malhotra told BBC's Stumped podcast.

"We will be doing normal scenario, and worst case scenario, so with all that we're talking to the ICC at the moment."

Malhotra said the UAE, which hosted the IPL last year, will be the back-up venue for the tournament this year.

"It would be the UAE. We're hoping again that it would be done by the BCCI. So, we'll take the tournament there, but it'll still be done by the BCCI," he said.

Malhotra's comments come days after the BCCI moved to assure players taking part in the IPL that they will remain safe under the tournament's bio security measures and urged to play on for "humanity".

An email from Hemang Amin, interim chief operating officer at the BCCI, has been issued to squad members of the eight franchises in a bid to instil confidence in the tournament following several high-profile departures.

Updated: April 30, 2021 08:42 AM

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