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India still World Cup hosts despite massive surge in COVID-19 cases

The Twenty20 World Cup is still on course to be held in India later this year despite a huge spike in the country’s COVID-19 cases, with the International Cricket Council insisting there is no cause to accelerate contingency planning.

Daily infections broke the 100,000 mark for the first time earlier this month, having previously dipped below 20,000 in January, inviting major concerns with just six months to go before the scheduled start of the competition.

Geoff Allardice, acting chief executive of the ICC, says there is not yet serious concern that the event may need to be postponed or relocated.

Neither option can entirely be ruled out if the virus continues to run riot but those measures are being held in reserve. “We are certainly proceeding on the assumption that the event is going ahead as planned,” he said.

“We’re not oblivious to what is going on around the world and we continue to take updates on all aspects of how sporting events are being run and the situation in each country. Cricket is being played in a number of countries around the world, we’re taking lessons from all of those and proceeding as planned, he added.

“We do have backup plans that can be activated when the time is right. We’re not anywhere near that timeline yet. We’ve got a number of months to be able to see how the situation is and how cricket events are being run. We’re in reasonably good shape at the moment but acknowledge the world is changing at a rapid rate.”

Allardice expressed a firm preference for international players taking up the offer of a vaccine but accepts pushing that issue any further is firmly outside his organisation’s administrative remit.

“I think our medical committee and the board are recommending that participants should be vaccinated wherever possible,” he said.

AP/RSS

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