The International Cricket Council (ICC) cancelled the qualifiers yesterday because of the travel restrictions imposed on many African countries as a result of the discovered variant of the novel coronavirus. The West Indies Women could face a logistical headache in returning home.
The Caribbean team was set to play Sri Lanka Women in their second qualification match — one of three games set for yesterday. However, the match was called off when a member of the Sri Lankan support staff test samples was found positive for COVID-19.
The three highest-ranked teams in the nine-team event, the West Indies, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, will therefore progress to the showpiece in New Zealand next year, according to tournament rules. Due to the emergence of the Omicron strain of COVID-19, cricket’s governing body was forced to suspend the finals. The European Union, the United States, and Great Britain all decided to prohibit flights from numerous southern African countries.
South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, and Eswatini have all been added to the list. The head of the ICC events, Chris Tetley went on to say that they were extremely unhappy to suspend the rest of the event, but there was a large concern that players would be unable to fly back home due to travel constraints placed by a range of international nations at such short notice.
He said that they have been looking for a few solutions to enable them to finish the event, but none of them were viable. Based on their rankings, Bangladesh, the West Indies and Pakistan, will now qualify for the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup. Ireland and Sri Lanka will also participate in the ICC Women’s Championship in the next cycle.
In the tournament, which began last week and was set to culminate on December 4, the West Indies Women only played one match, defeating Ireland Women by six wickets in Group A. Cricket West Indies said it was working in conjunction with the ICC to make sure that all participants of the West Indies team stay safe, as plans are made for their return to their home regions as fast as possible. The Stefanie Taylor-led side is now supposed to travel to Dubai on Sunday in an attempt to return home.
Non-citizens who had journeyed to the designated African countries in the previous 14 days will not be permitted entrance, while the EU has encouraged EU members to restrict commercial flights from the affected countries until there is a “full understanding” of the new variant’s potential impact.
The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said that until they has full knowledge of the threat posed by this new strain, all commercial flights to these nations should be prohibited. Travelers coming back from these countries should also obey stringent isolation restrictions.”
The United Kingdom has temporarily shut down travel from the territories and placed the afflicted southern countries in Africa on its red list, requiring all visitors to the country to isolate themselves at a hotel for 10 days upon their arrival.