Pandemic-hit India says UAE is Plan B for T20 World Cup


NEW DELHI (Reuters) - This year's Twenty20 World Cup could be moved to the United Arab Emirates if the COVID-19 crisis does not subside in India, the country's cricket board said.

Six months before the showpiece's scheduled start, India reported a record 386,452 new cases on Friday, though medical experts believe actual numbers may be five to 10 times greater.

The governing International Cricket Council (ICC) said this month it was sticking to hosting the event in India but had back-up plans, without specifying an alternative location.

"It would be the UAE," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) general manager Dhiraj Malhotra told the BBC on Thursday.

"...We'll take the tournament there, but it'll still be done by the BCCI," added Malhotra, also the tournament director.

He did not respond to Reuters calls and messages to elaborate, but an ICC spokesman confirmed the plan.

The governing body is monitoring the progress of the Indian Premier League, which is continuing in the midst of the epidemic. "It is too early to make a call," the spokesman told Reuters.

The pandemic forced the Indian board to stage last year's IPL in the UAE.

The BCCI last year signed a hosting agreement with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB). The ECB declined to comment on its preparedness when contacted by Reuters.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by John Stonestreet)

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