Upcoming ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup matches could go ahead with just nine players in a squad as organizers look to keep the tournament on track despite rising COVID-19 cases in New Zealand.
The International Cricket Council has confirmed that female members of a team’s support staff will be permitted to participate in a match in the event of a significant COVID outbreak, with matches to continue as long as a team has a minimum of nine players available.
“If it becomes necessary, we will allow a team to field nine players on an exceptional basis for this environment,” ICC Events Manager Chris Tetley said today.
“And if they had any female substitutes on their management team, we would allow two substitutes to play, no batting, no bowling…to allow a game to happen.”
If Australia were to call for on-field reinforcements during the tournament, they would have former international Shelley Nitschke among their coaches, while media officer Lucy Williams played at state level for Australia from South.
In 2015, the Australian men’s team used their masseur, Grant Baldwin, as a substitute outfielder for a test match against New Zealand in Adelaide. Baldwin had previously played second XI cricket for Victoria.
Teams have been allowed to bring additional reserves with them to New Zealand, beyond the 15-man squad, so players can move in and out of the squad in the event of COVID infection.
New Zealand’s daily case count topped 6,000 today to hit a new high of 6,137.
The World Cup schedule includes 31 matches across six venues in less than a month and Tetley has signaled matches may need to be rescheduled if there is a significant COVID outbreak at a team.
“If necessary, we would reschedule games if possible,” he said.
“We have a number of logistical constraints, but we will ask the teams to be as flexible as possible and we will be as flexible as possible if the need arises to achieve our objective, which is to advance the matches.”
Tournament CEO Andrea Nelson said attendance will be below capacity due to current restrictions, but will vary from venue to venue and could change as the tournament progresses.
“We take it week by week as we progress, but in the first week it’s likely there will be some availability at matches,” she said.
“Unfortunately at some venues we will have to cancel existing ticket holders. This is not something we want to do, and we are working very hard to see how many people we can fit into the stadiums.”
Originally scheduled for 2021, the World Cup is taking place across Tasmania as New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world to maintain a hard international border, meaning all teams have had to quarantine upon their arrival.
The tournament begins on Friday week, with Australia’s opener against England on March 5.
ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022
Australia team: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda – Jade Wellington. Traveling Reserves: Heather Graham, Georgia Redmayne
Australia 2022 World Cup schedule
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March 30: Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8:00 a.m. AEDT
March, 31st : Hagley Park Christchurch, 12pm AEDT
April 3: Hagley Park Christchurch, 11am AEDT
All matches will be shown in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports