This is the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that the ICC, the highest governing body of cricket, is going to organize a global event. The ICC T20 World Cup 2021 is going to start on October 17 with 16 teams. Due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in India, this year’s World Cup will be shifted to the United Arab Emirates(UAE) and Oman.
The matches of the first round will be played in Oman. Later, the Super 12 and knockout matches will be played in the UAE. About 94 percent of the country’s population has been receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, which is the highest across the globe till now. However, Alex Marshall, the head of integrity and biosafety at the ICC, considers hosting the World Cup in four venues with the participation of 16 countries to be a very complicated process.
The forthcoming biggest event of the shortest format of the game will be a month-long and hence there are possibilities of issues regarding Covid-19. Marshall made clear what steps the ICC will take in that regard. He answered various questions in a media briefing on Thursday. Notable points are highlighted below:
What will be the consequences if anyone inside the bio-bubbles tested positive for Covid-19?
If someone is tested positive for Covid-19 in the bio-bubble, the person should be in isolation for 10 days.
What will be done to those who are in close/casual contact?
People who were with the infected individual in less than 2 meters and without a mask for at least 15 minutes and 48 hours ahead to test/symptoms, would be considered as close contact. Such people have to stay in isolation for 6 days. In addition, if someone stays with the infected individual within physical contact but wearing a mask, would be defined as casual contact, the person should be isolated for 24 hours.
What will be the scenario if any team doesn’t want to play or is tensed about taking the field due to positive case/s on the opposite side?
The Biosafety Advisory Group (BSAG) will deal with such a scenario. They will help to address all participant’s concerns and explain the level of risk. In fact, playing on an outdoor cricket field will be very low risk to other players.
The ICC will also be guided by the BSAG to stage the event safely. Throughout the event, they will convene on a daily basis to guarantee that all Covid-19 issues are properly addressed with the help of expert scientific and medical guidance. Any substantial changes in the regulatory environment or the status of the pandemic, as well as the impact on the event, shall be assessed and recommended to the Covid Response Group.
What to do if a player has to leave bio-bubble for scans or treatment?
Specific bio-secure hospitals and detailed protocols have been in place for all such situations of the players. The provision has been made to ensure the safety of the bubble and the health of the players.
What happens if someone breaks the rules of bio-bubble?
No clear guidelines have been given in this regard yet. However, it has been informed that every team management has to take this issue very seriously. Alex Marshall, however, is optimistic that no player on either team will compromise the security of the bio-bubble.
Will the players’ families be able to stay alongside them inside the bio-bubble during the tournament?
A minimum number of family members will be allowed. However, each of them must comply with the full bio-bubble protocol.
Do World Cup spectators need to be vaccinated with two doses?
Fans willing to witness the match directly from the stadiums have to get two doses of vaccine to watch the game in Oman and Abu Dhabi, but not in Dubai and Sharjah. They have to wear a mask as well. The spectators will not be able to get in connection with the players.
The biggest event of T20 cricket is coming up. For more updates on it, stay with Baji!