The 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup which was earlier scheduled to take place in New Zealand next year, has been postponed to 2022 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite New Zealand’s success in restricting the virus. Meanwhile, the event’s CEO Andrea Nelson has shared that the decision isn’t related to New Zealand’s ability to host the event safely.
“It came down to the ability of the teams to qualify,” she told NZME.
She added, “We’ve done a lot of contingency planning around this event, to give it the best possible chance of proceeding successfully – ultimately the decision to delay it comes down to cricket. No qualifying tournaments have been able to be held yet, so in order to qualify and then compete in the event in 2021 – it was too risky.”
Nelson shared, “We’ve got teams that can’t train, they can’t assemble – in the case of a country like the West Indies they can’t leave their islands to bring the team together – and that’s just not a feasible way to ask a team to prepare for their pinnacle event. Having the tournament in 2022 gives the best possible chance for teams around the world to train, prepare, and come and compete in their pinnacle event.”
Meanwhile, five teams have qualified for the eight-team 2021 Women’s World Cup, while the format will remain the same in 2022 too. Still, three teams left to be qualified and the qualifying event which was earlier slated to take place in Sri Lanka in July was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notably, all the sporting events have been cancelled since March due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. But recently it has returned with England hosting the West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland men’s teams. However, Nelson explains that hosting a major tournament is a way more complicated task.
She explained, “A one team bilateral is a very different equation to bringing eight teams, broadcast staff – we’re looking at bringing about 600 people into New Zealand. We have absolutely no doubt we’ll be able to pick up those plans and deliver an amazing event a year later.”
Sports Minister Grant Robertson has also spoken about the postponement of 2021 Women’s World Cup. “This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world and for the White Ferns and their supporters here at home,” Robertson said.
Grant further added, “The organising committee in New Zealand has been working with the Government to ensure a safe and enjoyable tournament could be played. We could have done it in 2021, but now we will look to 2022. For the White Ferns, I know this will be a particular disappointment. We will keep working with New Zealand Cricket on how we can support them to provide opportunities for internationals to be played over the coming summer.”