England white ball skipper Eoin Morgan admits he’d be “surprised” if the T20 World Cup in Australia goes ahead as scheduled later this year.
The International Cricket Council on Wednesday rejected claims a decision had been made to postpone the tournament from its original slot of October 18 to November 15 and that all contingency plans are being explored.
However, the vagaries presented by the global coronavirus pandemic present significant obstacles, not least how the squads and support staff from 16 nations, including the hosts, can be accommodated without risking an outbreak.
And Morgan believes potentially exposing a country that has had just over 7,000 confirmed cases with a death toll of 103 presents a significant risk, as things stand.
Speaking to promote the Chance to Shine charity, Morgan said: “I’d be surprised if it goes ahead.
“My reasons for that would be if you look at how Australia have handled the pandemic, they’ve shut down the borders pretty early, had a limited number of cases and deaths in comparison to the rest of the world.
“Their biggest worry moving forward – a small negative to a huge positive – would be they almost don’t know what the immunity would be like if the virus does have an outbreak.
“Having 16 teams across several venues has the potential to expose something.
“It might only be a handful of cases to be spread, but when you look at how quickly it escalates, you weigh up the chance of playing a World Cup or postponing it, (which is) probably a bigger positive.”
Any alteration to the calendar lends itself to speculation about the impact on Morgan, who considered his position after leading England to a historic 50-over World Cup triumph last summer because of a back injury.
Last winter he announced his intention to captain England at the 2020 and 2021 T20 World Cups and he reaffirmed the desire to do so on Wednesday after revealing the current hiatus has left him feeling revitalised.
He said: “It doesn’t change that view for the simple reason that I think there are a lot of players that would have benefited from this break.
“It’s not a physical break it’s a complete mental refresh from the game that we’re grossly involved in and have been for some time. I certainly have.
“I feel at that stage now where I want to pick up a bat again and I’m ready to go as opposed to picking up a bat because I’m playing in three weeks’ time. That’s always a nice place to be.”