Former Australia captain Allan Border has said he cannot envision a tournament of the weightage and importance of a T20 World Cup being played in front of zero crowd. The T20 World Cup is the only major tournament Australia are yet to win, but with the 2020 edition scheduled to take place Down Under, Australia would have given themselves a chance. Also Read - Badminton's World Junior Championship Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
Although the tournament is a good seven months away, the growing outbreak of COVID-19 has cast doubts over the tournament with some of the organisers sounding sceptical of the event going ahead as planned. With travel restrictions employed, and people currently serving lockdowns, there is no surety if people will turn up in numbers provided the tournament gets the green light. Also Read - Government Has Reserved Rs 500 Billion For COVID-19 Vaccination: Report
“I just can’t imagine playing at empty stadiums… it defies belief,” former Australian captain Border told Fox Sports News. “Having teams, support staff and everyone else associated with the game wandering around the country, playing games of cricket, but you can’t let people into the grounds. I just can’t see it happening. Also Read - Our Platform Will Lead to Major Investment in Private Sports Infrastructure in India: Hudle CEO Suhail Narain
“It’s either you play it and everyone just gets on with the job and we’re past this pandemic. Or it just has to be cancelled and you try to fit it in somewhere else.”
Glenn Maxwell had also raised this concern. While the Australia allrounder feels the IPL could still go ahead with empty stadiums, he isn’t sure of a World Cup could survive without spectators.
“If you look at the way it’s going to be set out, it’s going to be hard for us to have crowds there,” he’d told ABC Grandstand. “It’s going to be hard for us to justify having a World Cup when we can’t get people into the grounds. So I can’t see it happening in the near future.”
Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts had earlier said he is hoping that the T20 World Cup could be played as per schedule in normal circumstances. Border added a fan-free tournament would “just be about the television-rights revenue”.
“Which all sports need. Let’s face facts… as soon as we roll into the cricket season and no cricket is being played, everyone starts hurting in our games as well,” he said.