India's Shikhar Dhawan. (Surjeet Yadav/IANS photo)

DUBAI — The men’s Twenty20 World Cup has been moved from India to the United Arab Emirates and Oman because of the coronavirus pandemic.

India will remain the host of the event scheduled from Oct. 17 to Nov. 14, the International Cricket Council said in a statement June 29.

The ICC gave India until June 28 to finalize the venue after its inspection team had to cancel the trip to India in April due to a rise in coronavirus cases. India remains stricken by the virus.

The tournament was originally scheduled for Australia last year, but it was delayed to this year due to the pandemic and given to India. But India’s ability to host was put in doubt in May when the Indian Premier League was postponed after several players tested positive for the coronavirus.

India has moved the IPL to the UAE because it will be monsoon season in September-October. The IPL will be completed just days before the T20 World Cup.

“Our priority is to deliver the T20 World Cup safely, in full and in its current window,” ICC acting chief executive officer Geoff Allardice said in a statement.

“Whilst we are incredibly disappointed not to be hosting the event in India, the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment.”

The T20 World Cup starts with eight teams — Bangladesh, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Scotland, Netherlands, Namibia, Oman, Papua New Guinea — who will be whittled down to four to join the top eight ranked T20 teams. The 12 teams will then split into two groups with the top two qualifying for the semifinals. The final is on Nov. 14. The West Indies is the defending champion.

“We would have been happier hosting it in India but considering the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 situation and the importance of a world championship, the BCCI will now continue to host this tournament in UAE and Oman,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said in a statement.

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