Covid no bar from play at T20 World Cup

Cricket, a non-contact sport, is prepared to let Covid positives play while upholding social distance rules.

We’ve gone a long way when Covid-19 required moving the rescheduled World Cup of 2021 from India to the UAE and delaying the T20 World Cup of 2020 by a year.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will use lax Covid-19 regulations for the upcoming T20 World Cup Down Under, which begins on October 16, taking a cue from the Australian government, which announced it was moving away from “Covid exceptionalism” and abolished the five-day mandatory isolation protocols for Covid positives in the nation.

While bio-bubbles, which had become the norm during the pandemic, are no longer present at sporting events around the world, we might even see a Covid-positive athlete on the field at the World Cup, albeit while maintaining social distance, which is acceptable in a non-contact sport like cricket.

The most recent instance was Australian Tahila McGrath, who reported having mild Covid symptoms at the August Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Despite having earlier in the day returned a Covid-positive test result, the all-rounder was given the all-clear to play in the gold medal match against India. She batted, retained her place while fielding, bowled two over, and remained away from her colleagues while wearing a mask in the locker room. When celebrating wickets, McGrath followed the social conventions of keeping a distance, but when the team won the gold, she joined the celebrations and all was forgotten.

Players who tested positive at the Games were assessed individually, taking into account things like the severity of the symptoms and level of contagiousness. The T20 World Cup will follow similar procedures. Additionally, it has been learned that only individuals who report symptoms would be checked, monitored, and treated during the major event. Teams will fly on regular commercial planes if a biosecure environment is not available.

Despite the fact that the T20 World Cup was held under a Managed Event Environment in the UAE last year, a regular testing schedule was in place. 14,500 PCR tests in total were performed throughout the event.

The easing of rules that denotes a return to normalcy would be welcomed by the players. Beth Mooney of Australia had defended the choice to allow McGrath to compete in the final, saying, “It’s a real shame that in elite sport you get publically embarrassed for having Covid but over here probably 90% of the people in this room have it right now.”

However, a full return to normalcy cannot be consistent at all global events because to the complexity of Covid and the various reaction strategies used by governments around the world. FIFA has stated that anyone testing positive at the 2017 World Cup of football in Qatar will be segregated. Every two days, quick antigen testing will be administered to players and other participants from all 32 teams.


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