New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: While the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is being played in bio-bubbles amid the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, doubts have been cast on whether India could host the T20I World Cup which is slated to take place in October this year.

Several foreign and Indian players, including senior offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin, have already opted out of the IPL 2021 due to the massive surge in cases. Amid this, a senior Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) official has said that the T20I World Cup could be moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) if the situation in India continues to deteriorate.

"It's too early to say what will happen. But the contingency plan is that it would go to UAE with the hosting rights staying with BCCI," BCCI General Manager Dhiraj Malhotra was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

Notably, the BCCI had also successfully held the IPL 2020 in the UAE amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in India. 

India is scheduled to host the T20I World Cup, which was postponed last year, from October 18 to November 15. According to a report by news agency ANI, the BCCI has finalised nine venues -- Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Dharamsala, Ahmedabad and Lucknow -- to host the tournament.

"The nine venues have been informed and it was again discussed that preparations should continue for the showpiece event with an eye on the Covid-19 situation and a call will only be taken closer to the event. It is too early to imagine what can or will happen in October-November with regards to the coronavirus situation. But preparations shall be on," a BCCI source told ANI.

The ICC T20I World Cup will be a 16-team affair. Teams, as per the rules laid down by the International Cricket Council (ICC), would need to announce their one month before the beginning of the tournament.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma