Gavaskar says India could host T20 World Cup


New Delhi (AFP)

Batting great Sunil Gavaskar said India could host this year's Twenty20 World Cup instead of Australia if the coronavirus crisis eases in the subcontinent.

With India set to host the 2021 edition, Gavaskar suggested swapping with Australia -- which has indefinitely barred almost all non-residents from entering the country -- and holding this year's tournament instead.

Australia is scheduled to stage the World Cup from October 18 to November 15, but the International Cricket Council has said it is "exploring all options" for the tournament.

"As we all know, Australia has barred foreigners from entering the country... The tournament starts mid-October so it is looking difficult at the moment," Gavaskar told India Today.

"Next year's T20 World Cup is in India. If India and Australia come to an agreement and in case the (COVID-19) curve in India flattens out, they can swap.

"It can be held in India this October-November and in Australia October-November next year."

Gavaskar added that the Indian Premier League T20 tournament, indefinitely postponed from its March 29 start, could be held just before the World Cup.

"If it (the swap) is going to happen that way then what can be done is that IPL is held just prior to T20 World Cup so there is enough practice for the players," said the 70-year-old Indian.

The ICC is due to discuss the global cricket calendar with chief executives of the 15 top national boards this week.

The T20 World Cup, previously a biennial tournament, is being played in back-to-back years after the former Champions Trophy was upgraded.

India has registered more than 20,000 coronavirus cases and 645 deaths, while Australia has had fewer than 7,000 cases.