(CMC) BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – New Zealand have pulled out of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup when the tournament is held in the Caribbean next January, because of extensive COVID-19 quarantine rules players would face on return home.
Scotland, who narrowly missed out on direct qualification in the Europe qualifiers, was named as the replacement team to participate in Group D alongside hosts West Indies, Australia and Sri Lanka, in the 14th edition of the tournament that will be played across 10 venues in Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago between January 14 and February 5.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said it made the difficult decision to withdraw from the tournament due to extensive mandatory quarantine restrictions for minors on their return home.
Returnees to New Zealand face seven days in managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) followed by self-isolation until a negative day-9 test is received.
“Some of these guys in the under-19 setups can be as young as 16,” said NZC head of communications Richard Boock. “We didn’t think it was appropriate to force young people to undergo MIQ.”
Scotland lead coach Gordon Drummond said that while this was “not the way we would have wanted to be included in the competition”, it will be “a great opportunity for our young cricketers to gain more experience of international cricket and challenge themselves against the best players in the world at their stage”.
“We know these tournaments are hugely valuable in the development of our young cricketers. After the disappointment of the qualifiers, I know the group are determined to be as competitive in the tournament and cause some upsets along the way,” he added.
Bangladesh are the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup defending champions and are competing in Group A with England, Canada and United Arab Emirates. Group B consists of
India, Ireland, South Africa and Uganda; while Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe make up Group C.