As the Indian Premier League (IPL) is nearing its climax with the final set of round-robin matches finishing on Friday, cricket fans around the world have already started to anticipate what is in store at the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Notably, while the second half of IPL was played entirely in UAE, the world event is set to be staged across Oman and UAE and the competition will be played for four weeks with the Qualifiers beginning on October 17.
10 days before the start of the competition, the International Cricket Council (ICC) also released the list of match officials and umpires for the tournament to be played in the Middle East. Javagal Srinath and Nitin Menon are the two Indians who are named in the list of referees and umpires. While Srinath is part of the match referees, Menon is the lone Indian among umpires.
The tournament will also be different since it is the first time a tournament of the stature of World Cup is being staged since the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic. This would mean multiple nations being part of the bio-secure bubbles and there will be a different standard operating procedure in place to conduct the marquee event this time around.
A quick glimpse at the COVID-19 guidelines laid out for the World Cup:
For beginners, close contacts of the COVID-19 infected individual will be identified as those individuals who are at a distance of two metres away from the infected individual for a minimum duration of 15 minutes and within the 48 hours timeframe preceding the Coronavirus test or symptom.
There is expected to be stringent measures taken in case even the slightest breach of a bio-bubble is reported. So strict are the measures adopted that players will only be allowed to use the medical facilities inside the umbrella of the bubble. In a first, there will also be a mental health expert who has been appointed by the ICC to ensure the mental well-being of the players.
It is also being reported that while it is mandatory for fans to be vaccinated to ensure entry in Abu Dhabi and Oman, in Dubai and Sharjah that is not the case. But even then, fans have been mandated to wear masks and they would not be allowed to interact with players directly.
Families will be allowed to stay with the cricketers, much like the case in the Indian Premier League, since it is a long tournament inside a bubble environment.