New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) The ICC started the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship from August 1 last year with the Ashes series and the final is set to be played at Lords in June 2021. But the coronavirus outbreak has brought the sporting world to a standstill with tours being either suspended or cancelled. And the international body is now keeping a tab on the issue as it might have to rework the schedule of the championship.

Speaking to IANS, an ICC official said that while no decision has been taken on the impact of the pandemic on the Test Championship, options are being explored that can be put into effect if the need arises to rework the schedule of the first edition of the event.

“We will continue planning for the events as they are, but as you would expect we are undertaking a comprehensive business continuity and contingency planning exercise which will allow us to adapt to the rapidly evolving world in which we find ourselves. This includes exploring all options available to us based on a range of scenarios connected to the pandemic. No decisions have been taken at present,” the official said.

Reacting to the situation, a BCCI official said that it will need a comprehensive team effort from not just the ICC, but also all its members to ensure that the right step is taken in these troubled times.

“Everyone will need to rework their own internal issues first. Nothing can effectively be solved till everyone puts their heads together, i.e. all the boards. This pandemic will seriously test the ICC and its leadership especially given its string of decisions over the last 3-4 years,” the official said.

This comes close on the heels of the England cricket board making it clear that the series against West Indies may need to be rescheduled keeping the impact of the coronavirus in mind. England team director Ashley Giles said that he doesn’t see the series against West Indies happening in June. Australia’s tour of Bangladesh, which included two Tests part of the Test Championship, has also been called off. England were scheduled to play 3 Tests against West Indies in June.

Giles further said that the ECB was also looking at the fixtures that follow the Windies series as England are set to play home series against Pakistan, Australia and Ireland.

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq had called for a full championship once things return to normalcy, even if that means reworking the schedule.

“When we finally start moving back to normal life and cricket can resume, every side should get equal opportunities and the tournament shouldn’t be shortened. No matches should be struck off, even if that means prolonging the championship. Every side should get the chance to play all the games they had scheduled in this cycle.

“Otherwise, you won’t get the true picture of what the rankings should have actually been and only some teams play all their games. That will disrupt the balance of the tournament. To me, it doesn’t matter if this goes beyond 2021 if that’s what it will take for everyone to get equal opportunities. That’s not a problem,” he said.

–IANS

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