T20 World Cup: ICC acting CEO gives verdict on slow pitches in UAE, says ‘Conditions will vary, challenge will be to adapt’

International Cricket Council (ICC) Acting CEO Geoff Allardice on Sunday said that the present pitch conditions in the UAE are not a worry and when the T20 World Cup comes about, it will be a matter of adapting for all the teams involved.

The pitches in Sharjah especially have caught the attention of the world because of the slow nature and run-scoring in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) has been quite difficult.

“I do not think it is a worry, the conditions will vary from venue to venue. One of the challenges in the event will be to adapt to different conditions that are being presented. Some of the recent matches have been high-scoring and some of them have been low-scoring. I think it will vary from venue to venue, we are not worried. It will just add a different layer of complexity to the teams, conditions will be the same for both teams on the given day,” said Geoff Allardice while replying to an ANI query during a Select Media Roundtable ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

Talking about Afghanistan’s participation in the T20 World Cup, Geoff Allardice said: “Yes, when the change of regime took place in Afghanistan in August, we have been in regular contact with their cricket board, our primary involvement is to support cricket in that country through the member board, we have said all along that we are waiting to see how things unfold under the different regime in that country. They are a full member of the ICC and their team is preparing for the T20 World Cup. In terms of their preparation for the event, it is proceeding as planned.”

The Acting CEO also briefed about the COVID-19 protocols and he said that all participants involved are vaccinated and hence the risk of severe illness reduces by a significant margin.

“Yeah, I think with most international sporting events, there is a chance that you will get positive COVID-19 cases. The question is how you deal with it and ensure the safety of the participants. I think we are in a situation where all of the participants in terms of players, umpires and support staff are vaccinated and that reduces of chances of severe illness. I think the management of those issues has evolved over the course of the last 12 months,” said Allardice.

Talking about neutral umpires, Geoff Allardice said: “I think it is pretty much a country by country margin. We were able to get hold of elite umpires and referees for the T20 World Cup. The UAE is a country that is fairly straightforward now. The issue is other countries which have different levels of restrictions, I think our position will be to use neutral officials wherever the circumstances allow.”

“I think the home countries umpires have performed really well over the course of the last 18 months supported by DRS and whether we need extra reviews or not, we are in a rhythm for that. The aim is to get neutral umpires back once restrictions are lifted, it may happen more after the World Cup. We continued with the playing conditions for the T20 World Cup that have been there which is two reviews per team,” he added.