The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been forced to postpone its important qualifier events, including the Men’s T20 World Cup Asia A Qualifier and the T20 World Cup Sub Regional Africa A and B Qualifiers. Both the tournaments are part of the qualification pathway towards the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled in Australia.
The ICC confirmed via a media release that these events have been rescheduled due to the new strains of the COVID-19 virus emerging across some countries. Creating bio-secure bubbles for different teams and allowing for their safe testing, pre-event quarantine is a very difficult logistical exercise in such an environment.
Consequently, the Asia A Qualifier, involving Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, will now be played in Kuwait between October 23 and 29, 2021 instead of April 3 and 9 as it was originally meant to be. The Sub Regional Africa A and B Qualifiers, also scheduled for April in South Africa, will now be played between October 25 and 31.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier will, therefore, be played between November 24 and 27 in Nigeria and feature the hosts, Kenya and the top teams from the Sub Regional Africa A and B Qualifiers respectively.
The ICC has also postponed the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifier from June to August. Further, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier has been pushed as well and will now be held in October.
“As part of the ICC’s comprehensive contingency planning process we have decided to postpone three Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 qualifying events and the Africa U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2 due to COVID-19,” said Chris Tetley, ICC’s head of events. “With a combination of restrictions in place in some participating countries limiting the opportunity for team preparation, as well as ongoing quarantine requirements and travel restrictions, there was no other option but to postpone and reschedule the events.”
“Unfortunately, due to there being no suitable options to stage the event within the necessary timelines, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the U19 Men’s CWC Asia Division 2 Qualifier. As a result, Oman and Singapore are promoted to the U19 Men’s CWC Asia Qualifier on the basis of their performances in the five previous editions of the event.”
“In addition, we have also rescheduled the Men’s and Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers and confirmed the dates for the U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Qualifier to ease calendar congestion and to provide the best opportunity for qualification to be determined on the field of play. We will continue to monitor and assess all events across our pathway structures with the ICC’s priority continuing to be to protect the well-being of players, coaches, officials and fans.”