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Cricket Australia says T20 World Cup is unlikely in 2020

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings described the staging of the Twenty20 World Cup this year as “unlikely” on the same day as he confirmed the head of the organizing committee for the 2020 tournament would be taking over as interim chief executive of the sport’s national governing body.

Nick Hockley, chief executive of the Twenty20 World Cup, was appointed on Tuesday as Cricket Australia’s interim CEO after Kevin Roberts stood down with 18 months still to run on his contract. Roberts was the third chief executive of a major sport in Australia to be replaced during the coronavirus pandemic as organisations struggle with the financial fallout of the shuttering of leagues and border closures.

Cricket Australia has been in damage control after furloughing staff and proposing pay cuts for players despite its season schedule being almost unscathed at the height of the lockdown. Australia is scheduled to host the men's T20 World Cup in October and November, but the prospects of the event going ahead in 2020 are diminishing.

“I would say it is unlikely ... trying to get (teams from) 16 countries into Australia when most countries are still going through COVID spiking is unrealistic or very, very difficult,” Eddings said during a video conference. He said Cricket Australia had suggested some alternatives to the International Cricket Council and a decision is expected to be made next month.

Hockley, who was in charge of the women's T20 World Cup that culminating with more than 86,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March to see Australia beat India in the final, said local organizers were still working on contingencies for the men's tournament.

It's more likely the main income for the Australian summer will be from a tour by India, with cricket boards in both countries working to get agreement from governments to make it possible for the series to go ahead.

Roberts, who was appointed in October 2018, in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal involving senior Australian players in South Africa, tended his resignation after reports of friction with the board.

“Cricket, like all national sports, has been going through a period of significant change and – in recent months we have had the added uncertainty delivered by COVID-19," Eddings said. “The entire cricket community has been affected and difficult decisions have been – and will continue to be necessary – to ensure that cricket at every level is in the best shape it can be now and in the future."

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