ICC confirms T20 WC to be held in UAE, sends wave of euphoria among fans
Fans were overwhelmed with the joy after the cricket’s world governing body confirmed the staging of the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) stamped its approval on the arrival of the showpiece event to the UAE, one day after the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) expressed their inability to host the cricketing spectacle due to the prevailing coronavirus situation in the country.
The ICC confirmed in a statement that the World Cup will be held in the UAE from Oct.17 to Nov.14 across three venues – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah – with some initial matches taking place in Oman.
It is for the first time in the history of the game, that the World Cup will be played on the land of a non-Test playing nation.
“Our priority is to deliver a safe T20 World Cup in its current window,” said Geoff Allardice, acting ICC CEO in a statement.
“Whilst we are incredibly disappointed not to be hosting the event in India, the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment.
“We will work closely with the BCCI, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and Oman Cricket to ensure fans can enjoy a wonderful celebration of cricket,” he added.
“ECB is honoured that the BCCI and the ICC have entrusted us with staging and delivering the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice President of the ECB, in a statement.
“The UAE’s reputation as being a safe country in which to host high-profile sporting events is a strong compliment to our government’s unwavering commitment to implementing and monitoring effective health practices during the pandemic.
“Having hosted a number of high-profile tournaments in recent months our team is well-prepared and ready to mobilise to ensure the success of the T20 World Cup,” the statement read further.
The UAE have a proven record of successfully staging the world class sporting event since the outbreak of coronavirus brought the world on its knees.
A resolute UAE defied the odds and showed the world way ahead by hosting MMA fight, which was otherwise scheduled to be held in the US.
The successful staging of MMA fight at the Yas Island, featuring the stars like — Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov – opened the floodgates as the UAE became the most sought after destination to stage the sporting events.
The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), AFC Champions League matches, FIFA World Cup qualifier, Asian Boxing Championships and the remaining matches of the suspended Pakistan Super League (PSL) were held in the UAE.
The list does not end as the remaining matches of the suspended IPL 2021, to be preceded by the T20 World Cup, will also be played in the UAE from Sept.18-Oct.10.
At the same time, the news also sent a wave of euphoria among the Asian diaspora of cricket lovers.
“I am very excited and looking forward to it. Hope this time around fans are allowed in the stadium to watch the action live,” said India’s Naved Ahmed, who works in Emirates Airlines as a cabin crew.
“I can’t believe. It is too good to be true. If fans are allowed and there is an India-Pakistan match, I will definitely go to watch it,” said Sadiq Attar, a die-hard Indian fan.
India-Pakistan matches are believed to be one of the fiercest rivalries across all sports. It generates more revenue and interest than the Ashes series – the oldest international tournament played between Australia and England every year.
A Pakistani expat Tanveer also expressed his delight, saying: “It is a big news. The staging of the World Cup in the UAE will give us a chance to see our stars live, should the fans be allowed.
“Had it been held in India, there might have been some visa issues for Pakistani fans but now we can avoid those jitters and enjoy the game from the stands,” added Tanveer.