Even as the air quality in the national capital Delhi has gone from bad to worse, there is still no certainty over hosting the T20 World Cup tournament in one of the venues, Delhi in 2021. It appears likely that Delhi could be left out as one of the match venues due to pollution problems. It is still early to rule out the possibility but the talks in BCCI circles on the showpiece event is that Delhi is a doubtful match venue for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
It should be noted that the dates for the marquee event, which comes a year after the one to be staged by Australia in October-November, are yet to be finalised by India’s governing body, Board of Control for Cricket in India and global cricket body, International Cricket Council (ICC).
However, it is expected to kick-off around the third week of October and runs till November second week.
Meanwhile, the BCCI has to send a tentative list of match venues to the ICC by March or April and only after that, the dates will be made official.
Usually, ICC announces match fixtures a year in advance as it helps in facilitating the logistical and travel planning for cricket teams and fans. However, there is still ample time for the list to reveal it to the public.
Unlike in the year 2016, when India hosted the tourney with as many as seven cities as hosts, the 2021 edition could witness the rise in number to eight or nine if ICC approves it. Ahead of that edition, the two global and national cricket bodies, ICC and the BCCI were in dispute, as ICC wanted a maximum of five host cities. But this time around, it has been learnt that the BCCI expects to have its way since Australia listed Hobart and Geelong among host cities besides five-match venues namely Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
Thus, BCCI can bargain for at least two more match venues.
Like in 2016, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru are likely to be among the hosts. But Delhi, Mohali, Dharamsala and Nagpur might not be taken into account this time around and instead, venues like Ahmedabad, Chennai and Hyderabad are likely to be on the list.
Well, it should be noted that Dharamsala and Ranchi or Mohali could be the other two venues.
Delhi might be used as a venue only for the qualification round:
The tournament which is scheduled in the festive season has a huge risk of encountering a pollution problem. Since 2016, staging matches in Delhi during the period didn’t go well as planned as the Ranji fixture was postponed. Then a few Sri Lankan cricketers suffered during a Test in 2017 and things turned worse when Suranga Lakmal vomited on the field due to Delhi’s notorious smog.
Last year, there were issues before hosting a T20I between India and Bangladesh.
Recently, Delhi experienced a sudden increase in air quality index and 2021, the famous festival, Diwali falls on November 4, which might further intensify the risk.
Taking all these factors into account, Delhi might be used as the venue only for the qualification round involving six teams.