(Press Release) HARARE, Zimbabwe – The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday announced that the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2021 in Zimbabwe has been called off. The tournament, scheduled to be played until December 5, would have decided the final three spots for the ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand next year as well as the remaining two berths in the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship.
West Indies won their first match against Ireland by six wickets and were slated to face Sri Lanka on Saturday at Harare Sports Club, but that match was abandoned due to a member of the Sri Lanka support staff testing positive for COVID-19 on the morning of the match, following six players that had tested positive since the Tournament began.
The ICC indicated that with the emergence of the latest COVID-19 variant in South Africa and the introduction of travel restrictions from a number of African countries, including the host country Zimbabwe, it has reluctantly decided to call off the event, with the qualification slots decided as per team rankings, in keeping with the tournament’s playing conditions. Therefore, West Indies, Bangladesh, Pakistan will now progress to the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand to be played from March 4 to April 3.
West Indies Women’s Head Coach Courtney Walsh said:
“Yes it’s disappointing that the tournament had to be cancelled. I’m sure all the teams here participating would be disappointed as it is a chance to put all your skills on show and especially the teams vying to get to the World Cup, there’s going to be disappointment. I think the right decision was taken by not putting the teams at risk, especially with the recent developments happening. We are obviously delighted that we have qualified and that we will be there at the World Cup next year. The girls are very happy because that was one of the missions we wanted to fulfil when we left the Caribbean. We’re going to start planning and preparing for New Zealand 2022 but our main focus right now is to get the team back home quickly and safely.”
Chris Tetley, the ICC Head of Events explained:
“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.”
CWI is working closely with the ICC to ensure all members of the West Indies squad remain safe, as arrangements are made for their return to their home territories as soon as possible.