The Apex Council of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has picked nine venues to host the T20 World Cup scheduled for October-November. With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt normal life and India being the second-most affected country in the world, it remains to be seen if the International Cricket Council approves as many venues.
The nine shortlisted venues are Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Dharamsala, Ahmedabad and Lucknow. The final has been allotted to the Narendra Modi Stadium. The number of venues is two more than what India had used for the 2016 edition. Nagpur and Mohali have been left out this time and instead Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Lucknow have been added.
With 16 teams in action, the BCCI and the ICC have a challenging task at hand to pull off the event — the first in five years, after 2020 edition in Australia was postponed to 2022 because of the pandemic. The BCCI had initially thought of keeping the event to six venues but after several state units expressed interest during an informal meet ahead of the IPL opener in Chennai, it reached out to the ICC if it can add more to the list.
Subsequently Lucknow, Hyderabad and Dharamsala have been added to the list. But in Covid times whether the ICC spreads the event across nine venues remains to be seen as it would require frequent travel and setting up bio-bubbles. Moreover, the ICC also sees lesser venues will be more cost effective during the Covid times as teams too may not be preferring constant travel before matches.
It is understood that the BCCI will also present a Plan B to the ICC should the coronavirus situation doesn’t improve in India. This involves keeping the venues to not more than four, which will be decided at a later stage.
Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium will host the final.