An Unfortunate End to Thailand’s 2022 World Cup Dream

Cricket is one of the most famous sports in many parts of the world. The competition and thriller it gives is what makes fans fascinated towards it. Ranging from series between two teams to domestic leagues, charity matches, the cricket fever is always on, adding to which is the most competitive and prestigious of all, The World Cup. It is a dream for every cricketer to be a part of the World Cup squad of their country and of course, there is no better feeling than being crowned as a Champion.

 

Thailand Women's Cricket Team. PC: ICC/Twitter
Thailand Women’s Cricket Team. PC: ICC/Twitter

 

With the same dream were the teams competing in the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers last week, never to think that Covid-19 would get into their path to the main tournament yet again. The World Cup which was initially scheduled to be held earlier this year with qualifiers in December 2020, was postponed by a year due to the pandemic. The re-scheduled qualifiers commenced from November 21 and the three remaining spots were to be finalized by December 5, the last day of the qualifier. However, the detection of a new Covid variant in South Africa forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to cancel the tournament as the new variant named Omicron, created panic with countries closing borders and flights to some of the African countries which included the Qualifiers host Zimbabwe as well. The cancellation made ICC decide the remaining three spots based on ICC ODI Team ranking which made Bangladesh, Pakistan, and West Indies through to the Cup in New Zealand next year.

The announcement made by ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley in regard to this, said,

“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.

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While it is a time for celebration for three camps, the five were left perturbed, after all, their dream and the hard work they put in to achieve it, got out of reach within a moment of time. Thailand, the team which was performing quite well in the qualification having won three out of four games they played, beating the ODI fifth-ranked Bangladesh in one of the games, the host and USA in the other two, was so determined to grab the title that they kept an image of the World Cup trophy as their phone’s wallpaper. A picture consisting of every player’s phone was shared by one of their players, Natthakan Chantham with a heart-break emoji caption on Twitter.

Just in seconds, the post got viral all-over social media with other cricketers as well as fans condoling the team with their comments. Just because they don’t have an ICC ODI ranking, they missed out on qualification even for ICC Women’s Championship 2022-2025.

Commenting on this unfortunate exit for the Thailand camp, English journalist Tim Wigmore posted a series of tweets, “The Thailand women’s team have been one of the best stories in cricket in recent years – reached the last T20 World Cup and just defeated Bangladesh, who are ranked 5th, in an ODI in the World Cup qualifiers.”

“Their growth is now being shunted through no fault of their own”

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Further sharing, “Other sports have moved away from using rankings to determine qualification for world events – without equal access to fixtures, they’re unfair and too easy to game.

“In this case, Thailand literally didn’t have an ODI ranking because they weren’t awarded status.

His third tweet said, “The country whose women’s team are most advanced relative to their men’s team have been shafted because they aren’t a full member (which has been determined by how good a men’s team is.)

What message does this send to countries who might prioritize women’s cricket?”

The 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup begins from 4th March 2022 with Australia, India, England, South Africa, New Zealand, Bangladesh, West Indies, and Pakistan competing for the ultimate title.

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