WEST INDIES women’s team have qualified for the 2022 International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Cricket World Cup following the abandonment of the qualifier tournament in Zimbabwe on Saturday.
The tourney was called off owing to the emergence of the latest covid19 variant, omicron, in South Africa and the introduction of travel restrictions from a number of African countries, including the host country Zimbabwe.
This means the three World Cup qualification slots – which were due to be decided upon completion of the qualifier competition – will be decided as per team rankings, in keeping with the tournament’s playing conditions.
A statement by Cricket West Indies said, “Therefore, West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan will now progress to the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand to be played from March 4 to April 3.”
Although pleased to automatically secure World Cup qualification, West Indies women’s team coach Courtney Walsh had mixed feelings.
“Yes it's disappointing that the tournament had to be cancelled," said Walsh. "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."
Walsh continued, “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,” he said.
Chris Tetley, the ICC head of events, added that the decision to cancel the qualifier tournament was made to safeguard all players, staff and officials.
“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," said Tetley.
“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,” he said.
West Indies won their first qualifier 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 covid19 on the morning of the match, following six players that had tested positive since the tournament began.