New COVID-19 Variant forces ICC to Call off Women’s World Cup Qualifiers 2021

Since last year, we have seen an unprecedented pandemic, Covid-19 disrupting the entire world. Its effect was such that the majority of the scheduled events/tournaments had to be postponed, the major area of concern being sports who have years long pre-planned schedule ready and with 2020 supposed to be a year for Olympics and the Men’s T20 World Cup, the worry was high. The sudden change in schedule made a huge effect on future events as well.

 

Covid Test

Apart from the men’s world cup in cricket, the Women’s Cricket World Cup qualifiers were also postponed which further postponed the main World Cup tournament as well by a year. After being postponed from July 2020 to November 2021, the qualifiers finally got underway on November 21, but a new variant of the virus has got a hold of the tournament once again and this time resulting in its cancellation.

 

New COVID-19 Variant forces ICC to Call off Women's World Cup Qualifiers 2021
New COVID-19 Variant forces ICC to Call off Women’s World Cup Qualifiers 2021

 

Having been held in Zimbabwe, this race to the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup was a crucial one for nine teams among whom three would have found their way to the main tournament and added two to the ICC Women’s Championship. However, the detection of a new variant of Covid-19, Omicron as it has been named by WHO, in South Africa has forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to call off the tournament. Being called as a variant of concern by WHO, its rising cases have resulted in several countries imposing travel restrictions from a number of African countries which include the host Zimbabwe as well.

The cancellation comes after the match between West Indies and Sri Lanka, the third fixture for Saturday was abandoned following Covid-19 positive cases in the Sri Lankan team.

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Thus, ICC has decided to use the team’s ODI ranking criteria to fill the remaining three slots which makes Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan who are ranked 5th, 7th and 8th respectively qualify for the 2022 World Cup joining Australia, India, England, South Africa who qualified based on the 2017-2020 ICC Women’s Championship and the 6th ranked New Zealand who got an automatic qualification being the host nation. Further the 9th and 10th ranked in the ODI ranking, Sri Lanka and Ireland, joined the above-mentioned eight teams to find a slot in the 2022-2025 cycle of the Women’s Championship.

A report by ICC shares the announcement made by ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley which says,

“We are incredibly disappointed to have to cancel the remainder of this event but with travel restrictions from a number of African countries being imposed at such short notice, there was a serious risk that teams would be unable to return home.”

“We have explored a number of options to allow us to complete the event, but it isn’t feasible, and we will fly the teams out of Zimbabwe as soon as possible. Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will now qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 by virtue of their rankings, whilst Sri Lanka and Ireland will also join them in the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship,” he added.

Source: icc-cricket.com

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