Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg feels his country should go all out to ensure that the T20 World Cup is held as scheduled this year even if it means bringing in teams a month in advance in chartered flights and testing all participating players for COVID-19.
The deadly COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 1,20,000 people globally and placed countries under lockdown, has cast a shadow over the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15. Hogg said he is against the idea of a cancellation or postponement, and the organisers will have to take some proactive decisions to ensure the event’s smooth conduct.
“There is a lot of talk that the T20 World Cup in Australia could be cancelled or rescheduled to a later date. I don’t like that…But there are a few issues which we got to address,” the 49-year-old said in a video posted on his twitter handle.
“A lot of players have been in lockdown. They haven’t been able to go out, train and prepare for a tournament such as the T20 World Cup. So we got to get them here a month, a month-in-a-half earlier that what we would do in a normal situation,” he said.
He suggested that players be tested before they board chartered flights to enter Australia. “There is no commercial flights, so we have to have chartered flights…Before the players get on to the chartered flights they all get tested.
“When they get to Australia they go into lockdown for two weeks. After the two week quarantine period they are tested again and if they pass the test they are free to go out, prepare and train,” he added. Hogg said maintaining social distancing won’t be a problem in cricket.
“Social distancing is not an issue in cricket because all the time the players are more than a metre and half away from in the middle. “The only issue probably could be the slip cordon but let’s put a rule — you need to be two metres apart in the slip cordon,” he said.
He doesn’t see any rationale behind denying cricket-starved fans the opportunity to watch the action on TV, saying postponing the World Cup will be a “weird” idea. “Why cancelling the tournament? There are so many viewers out there who are starved for these great games. They want to have live cricket on their TV screens and now will be licking their lips to see the best in action,” Hogg said.
“We have also got another T20 World Cup in India the following year in October and November, so you don’t want 2 T20 tournaments played in a space of less than a year because that would be weird and unauthentic,” he added.