T20 World Cup in India? Gavaskar's 'swap' suggestion

Sunil Gavaskar

MUMBAI: Now here's a proposal that makes eminent sense considering the "force majeure" situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic roiling the world.  

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has suggested to India Today that India and Australia should swap the hosting rights of the next two T20 World Cups.

Australia is scheduled to stage the T20 World Cup in October followed by India next year (two World Cups in successive years? It can happen only in cricket). But with the global crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, this year’s edition Down Under is facing a serious threat as the Australian government has banned the entry of all foreigners till September 30.

“At the moment, as we all know, Australia has barred foreigners from entering the country until the 30th of September. The tournament is starting from mid-October or the 3rd week of October, so it’s looking a bit difficult at the moment,” Gavaskar told India Today.

“If it can be done… next year’s T20 World Cup is in India. If it can be done… where India and Australia come to an agreement… in case the curve in India flattens out and India and Australia swap… so the T20 World Cup is in India in October-November this year and Australia in October-November next year, then it can happen,” he said.

Such a swap, Gavaskar noted, would also open the doors for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League to be played as a lead-up to the T20 World Cup, which would  be perfect match practice for the players ahead of the marquee event.

“If it is going to happen that way, then maybe what can happen is the IPL can be held just prior to the T20 World Cup so that it’s enough to practice for the players to have T20 World Cup,” Gavaskar said.

The idea also makes eminent sense as unlike India, where almost ALL the "serious money" India's "national passion" generates comes from television rights, for Cricket Australia, its main source of revenue, from the 45 matches that are scheduled to be played in the World Cup across stadiums such as the MCG, Perth Stadium, Adelaide Oval and the SCG, is from gate receipts.

And gate receipts are definitely ruled out for CA if the T20 World Cup takes place, as it’s virtually certain there will NOT be spectators. This applies even more so to India, where the Central government and those who matter in the BCCI and hosting associations, are fully aware that the ability of the authorities to maintain social distancing norms in-stadia are just not there.

Another workable suggestion from the batting great, is his view that the organisers should look at postponing the Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in September, to December, after the T20 World Cup is done and dusted. Pakistan have the hosting rights for the continental T20 tournament, which is scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates.

"Then the Asia Cup can be held in December in the UAE. That's a much better time to have the tournament than in September when it can be extremely hot," Gavaskar said.