As the International Cricket Council (ICC) continues to defer the decision on the fate of the T20 World Cup 2020, Australia's Sports Minister Richard Colbeck on Friday said that the country is still hopeful going ahead with the tournament.
The T20 World Cup 2020 is slated to be played in Australia from October 18-November 15, however, the fate of the tournament hangs in the balance due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions throughout the world.
In an interaction with ANI, Sports Minister Colbeck said that the federal government is still planning to host the tournament and the response to coronavirus in the country has led to optimism about hosting the tournament.
"The Federal Government continues to work closely with the Local Organising Committee and state governments on planning for the Men's T20 World Cup. Our decisive response to the pandemic and the nation's ability to flatten the curve of the virus has resulted in the roll-out of a three-step framework for a COVID safe Australia. This has included the staged return of sport at all levels," Colbeck told ANI.
However, the Minister said that if the tournament goes ahead as planned, then the spectator numbers may come down due to the possible restrictions in different states and territories.
"It will not be without obvious precautions. Australian states and territories are responsible for implementing arrangements regarding the resumption of sport in each jurisdiction. This may result in restrictions on spectator numbers - but in what capacity is not yet clear. We remain committed to the implementation and support of measures to keep players and spectators safe. Any decision in relation to the tournament is ultimately a matter for the ICC," Colbeck said.
As per Sydney Morning Herald, Australia has so far reported 7,289 coronavirus cases and the death toll stands at 102.
On June 10, the ICC had deferred the decision on the upcoming Men's T20 World Cup and the Women's Cricket World Cup 2021 until next month.
The ICC had said that it will continue to explore a "number of contingency plans" regarding the future of these events. The cricket governing body also stated that planning for delivery of the events in the scheduled window is ongoing.
"The Board expressed its desire to continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19 working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved," ICC said in a statement.
"This contingency planning process will evaluate health and safety, cricket, partner and host considerations ensuring any decision taken is in the best interests of the sport, its Members and fans," the statement added. (ANI)