Smith: 'Very good chance' T20 World Cup will be in early 2021

Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)

There is a "very good chance" that this year's T20 World Cup, originally scheduled for October, will be moved to early next year. 

That is the view of Proteas Director of Cricket Graeme Smith, who was addressing media in a Cricket South Africa (CSA) video press conference on Thursday. 

"If it does get postponed, we're looking at February or March next year," Smith told journalists. 

With the Proteas' tour of the West Indies in July, where there were five T20s scheduled, as well as a three-match home T20 series against India in August both in doubt, preparations for the World Cup have obviously been rocked. 

There are several players including Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Faf de Plessis and even AB de Villiers who were understood to be eyeing the tournament as potentially a final outing in Proteas colours. 

The absence of cricket means that Proteas management is running out opportunities to gauge where these players and several others are in terms of fitness and form. 

"We'll have to assess players on form, as was always going to be the case. When that event comes around, we will look at the best squad we could send to give us an opportunity to win the trophy.

"I think the key at the moment, across the board from players to coaches and operational staff, is to try and make sure that we're ready for when the opportunity arises to play cricket again and then we'll have to assess players quickly.

"The hope was that we would have 14 T20 games before the World Cup in October and that's not going to happen anymore. There is a very good chance it's going to be shifted into the beginning of next year, so we'll have to consistently assess.

"There are so many things up in the air, so the key is just to be ready."

The good news from acting CSA CEO Jacques Faul, though, was that a delayed T20 World Cup shouldn't have much impact financially. 

"The T20 World Cup gets sold and the money is essentially distributed to the members," Faul said. 

"I don't think a delay in the tournament would lead to a cut of that funding. As long as it takes place within the same financial year, then it should be fine. If it doesn't take place or if it is delayed for a longer period, then it would have an impact."

- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard 

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