Women's World Cup 2022: Matches can go ahead with nine players in COVID hits

The playing conditions have been revised for the Women's World Cup 2022.

Australia women vs India women
Australia women vs India women. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

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As per the latest developments, matches at the upcoming Women’s ODI World Cup in New Zealand can go ahead with nine players in a line-up to keep the tournament going amid COVID-19. Ever since the global pandemic came in the picture, many major series and tournaments have been postponed and cancelled. In fact, some tournaments had to pause midway with the quickly-spreading virus hitting the camps.

In order to avoid the same, the playing conditions have been revised for the Women’s World Cup, which gets underway on March 4. Now, teams will be allowed to field a reduced line-up in case of a outbreak in their squad. In such cases, members within the coaching and support staff can come in as substitute fielders. ICC’s head of events Chris Tetley confirmed on Thursday (February 24).

Members of support staff can come in as substitute fielders

“If it becomes necessary we would allow a team to field nine players as an exception for this environment. And if they had female substitutes from within their management team, we would allow two substitutes to play – non-batting, non-bowling – to enable a game to take place,” Tetley was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

It must be noted that all teams participating in the competition have been permitted to bring three travelling reserves with them, who can be switched in and out of the 15-member squad in case anyone contracts COVID. Meanwhile, Tetley further added that rescheduling of fixtures would be considered in case the need arises, although there were “logistical constraints” around the tournament.

“We’ll be asking teams to show maximum flexibility and we’ll be as flexible as possible if the need arises to fulfil our objective, which is to get the games on,” he said. It must be noted that New Zealand has been witnessing a steady rise in COVID-19 cases ever since the Omicron variant came in the picture.

While the government has imposed restrictions on gatherings at sports evenings, tournament’s CEO Andrea Nelson is optimistic of having small numbers of spectators for group-stage games.

“Under the red traffic light setting we can currently operate in pods of 100. We are taking it week-by-week as we work our way through, but in the first week it is likely there will be some availability at matches. Unfortunately, at some venues we will have to cancel existing ticket holders,” said Nelson.