Cricket: Twenty20 World Cup shifted to United Arab Emirates as India continues to struggle with COVID-19 surge

This year's Twenty20 World Cup will be moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of the COVID-19 situation in India and travel restrictions stemming from it, a top official of the Indian cricket board told Reuters.

The pandemic swept the world's second-most populous nation last year and India's total COVID-19 case load now stands at 30.27 million with total fatalities at 396,730, official data showed.

As the country scrambles to curb a more transmissible variant of the virus, experts have predicted a third wave of infection coinciding with the World Cup scheduled in October-November.

"We are monitoring the COVID-19 numbers in the country and there's no clarity about travel restrictions at that time," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal said by telephone.

"We will stage it there in the UAE after the conclusion of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"We will inform the International Cricket Council soon," he added.

World governing body ICC had set a June 28 deadline for the BCCI to take a decision on hosting the tournament.

India's slim chances of hosting the 16-team World Cup effectively evaporated in May when the BCCI had to suspend the IPL as cases surged in the country.

The BCCI announced last month the remaining IPL matches would be played in the UAE, which has been the back-up venue for the 16-team World Cup.

The UAE hosted IPL's entire 2020 season as well as the final phase of this year's Pakistan Super League.