Australian organizers said postponing men’s T20 World Cup cricket was “absolutely inevitable” on Tuesday after the coronavirus pandemic forced the tournament to be delayed for a year.

After months of uncertainty, Cricket Australia welcomed the International Cricket Council’s decision, saying it provided clarity ahead of the upcoming home season which includes a series of successful tests against India.

Delaying the T20 World Cup also frees an October-November slot in this year’s cricket calendar which could be used to stage the Indian Premier League, possibly in the United Arab Emirates.

However, it is unclear whether the T20 World Cup will now take place in Australia or India, which were originally scheduled for the next edition in 2021, which has been moved to 2022.

COVID-19 has ravaged international sport and CA CEO Nick Hockley said that Australia cannot host a 16-nation event with the pandemic still going on.

“I think the decision to postpone was absolutely inevitable,” he told reporters. “It allows us to focus on the coming summer with real clarity.”

Under new agreements announced on Monday, Australia or India will host the next T20 World Cup between October and November 2021, so the other nation will hold it in 2022.

The 50 world championships in India, originally scheduled for March-April 2023, will be rejected from October to November of that year, with the final on November 26th.

Hockley said CA had no preference for hosting the T20 tournament in 2021 or 2022.

“We just want to see two big events going on, whether it’s 21st or 22nd in Australia, I’m sure we’ll have a fantastic event,” he said.

‘Busy time’

ICC CEO Manu Sawhney said the return to the 2023 World Cup prevented an accumulation of games, which would see two major tournaments played within months of each other.

“Now it just gives you a very clear gap between things, it also helps us ensure that we can plan events … ensuring health and safety for all concerned,” he said.

Hockley downplayed the impact of the changes on CA’s finances, stating that this year’s T20 World Cup had simply been postponed, not canceled.

“It was a busy time for everyone … luckily, we’re not talking about missing any events,” he said. “It really is a case in which they are held until we can successfully stage them.”

He said the decision to assign hosting duties between India and Australia in 2021 and 2022 would be made for health reasons and depended on the state of the pandemic.

“Go back safely and work with the latest and best information available,” he said. “It comes down to risk and we give ourselves the greatest possible certainty.”

Hockley said the test schedule in Australia remained unchanged, with a single game against Afghanistan in Perth in late November, followed by four tests against India between December and January.

But he doubted that the Australian government would accept Indian cricket chief Sourav Ganguly’s suggestion that his superstar team would be subjected to a shortened quarantine after arrival in the country, rather than the standard fortnight.

“I think the two-week quarantine period is fairly well defined,” said Hockley. “What we are working on is that even within that quarantine environment players will have the best training facilities, so their match preparation is as optimal as it can be.”

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