In what could come as a great news for fans looking to witness live action of the upcoming T20 World Cup, all the venues in the UAE for the showpiece event will be operating at approximately 70 per cent of maximum seated capacity, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced.
Tickets for the tournament have been made available to fans to watch the 16 teams, who will vie for the ultimate prize in the shortest format, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup starting in Muscat on October 17 and concluding in the UAE on November 14.
The global cricket governing body also announced that Abu Dhabi has introduced a new socially distanced ‘pods’ of a maximum of four spectators on their east and west grass mounds and the Oman Cricket Academy has had a temporary infrastructure built to welcome 3,000 fans.
Announcing the development, ICC Acting CEO Geoff Allardice said: “We are delighted to be welcoming fans back to international cricket in both Oman and the UAE to enjoy the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Our thanks to our hosts BCCI, Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and Oman Cricket as well as the local governments in these regions for their support in ensuring fans could attend in a safe environment.”
“The biggest sporting spectacle to have ever taken place in the region deserved to be played out in front of passionate cricket fans from all 16 nations competing and we are doing everything possible to keep it safe for all. It has been five years since the last Men’s T20 World Cup and we can’t wait for the world’s best players to arrive in Oman and the UAE and showcase the very best of T20 cricket,” he added.
On the other hand, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah expressed: “I am delighted that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be played in front of cheering fans both in the UAE and Oman. My sincere thanks to the government of the UAE and Oman for paving the way for fans to return. The anticipation for the World Cup, which is taking place after five years, is building with each passing day. I am sure we will have fans coming from different parts of the world to support their team. The vibe they will create will boost the performances on the field.”
“The ticket sales have started, and I urge everyone to stay safe and follow the health advisories and savour the experience,” he added.
The ICC and BCCI have worked closely with host authorities to ensure fans can be welcomed in a safe environment and COVID 19 protocols will apply at all venues, the statement from the global body said further.
Bangladesh, Ireland and 2014 winners Sri Lanka will be competing alongside Namibia, Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, and Scotland for a place in the Super 12 stage which features Afghanistan, Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and West Indies.
Team India-led by Virat Kohli will open their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.
The Men In Blue, placed in the second group, will next face New Zealand on October 31 at the same venue before facing Afghanistan on November 3 in Abu Dhabi.
India will then take on the two of the four qualifiers on November 5 and 8 in Dubai.
The two semifinals will be held on November 10 and November 11 with the final to be played on November 14.