MUMBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday that all qualifying events for the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup and 50-overs version in 2023 that were scheduled to be held before June 30 have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The flu-like virus has infected more than 470,800 people around the world and killed over 21,200 since appearing in China at the end of last year.
The pandemic has also brought global sport to a standstill and the ICC said in a statement the World Cup qualifiers would also be impacted.
“The decision has been taken in conjunction with members and in line with the relevant government and public health authority advice,” the ICC said.
All qualifiers scheduled to take place before July in Kuwait, South Africa, Namibia, Spain, Papua New Guinea, Belgium, Malaysia and Finland are affected, the statement added.
“In light of the significant global health concerns at the current time and the restrictions on movement imposed by governments across the world, the ICC has taken the decision to postpone all events up until the end of June subject to further review,” Chris Tetley, ICC head of events, said.
“Work will continue on contingency plans and options for both men’s qualification pathways. We will provide updates in due course on these plans and decisions on the staging of the remaining events this year.”
India will host the T20 World Cup, a revamped version of the former Champions Trophy, in October-November of 2021. It is not to be confused with this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
India will also hold the 50-over World Cup in 2023.
This year’s Indian Premier League, the world’s richest cricket league, is one of the many sports events worldwide to be postponed including the Tokyo Olympics, which have been delayed until next year.
The ICC said this year’s remaining qualifiers are being “continually monitored”.
As many as eight events will now be postponed due to the ICC decision. The World Cup trophy tour, which was scheduled to start next month, was also postponed.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020