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World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe abandoned, positive outcome for Ireland amidst disappointment

In a statement released this morning, Cricket Ireland say the squad will return home ‘as soon as practicable’.

The Irish women's cricket team are currently based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The Irish women's cricket team are currently based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

WITH CONFIRMATION FROM the International Cricket Council [ICC] this morning that the Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe has been abandoned, Cricket Ireland say the squad will return home “as soon as practicable”.

Amid concerns about new ‘omicron’ Covid-19 variant which appears to have originated in southern Africa, seven countries from the region — including Zimbabwe — have been placed on a de facto red list in Ireland, with new travel restrictions in place.

While disappointing as the World Cup dream ends in these circumstances, Ed Joyce’s Irish side have still benefited from the abandonment, making the cut as the number of teams in the third cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship (from 2022-2025) was increased from eight to 10.

“However, today is a time not for celebrations, rather to concentrate on our team’s safe and timely repatriation home,” Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said in a statement.

The statement in full reads, as follows:

“The International Cricket Council has this morning confirmed that the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe has been abandoned as a result of the introduction of travel restrictions from a number of countries, including Zimbabwe.

“The ICC has further advised that qualification for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 and next ICC Women’s Championship will be determined by world rankings.

As a result:

  • The teams who have qualified for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 to be held in New Zealand from 4 March to 3 April are Australia, England, India, South Africa, New Zealand (hosts), Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh.
  • The number of teams in the third cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship (from 2022-2025) has been increased from eight to ten, and these teams will be Australia, England, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ireland.

Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, said:

“We are disappointed for all the players and teams who are in Zimbabwe at the moment, but from a health and safety perspective this is the correct decision. We will now concentrate on working with the ICC in getting our squad home as soon as practicable.

“While it’s never the manner in which you hope to qualify for a competition, it is a big result for Ed Joyce and his squad to be part of the 2022-2025 Women’s Championship. It’s not an understatement to say it should see a fundamental change in women’s cricket in Ireland.

“However, today is a time not for celebrations, rather to concentrate on our team’s safe and timely repatriation home.”

The Ireland women’s cricket team is currently in a bubble in Harare, Zimbabwe, having played two matches in the group stages of the qualification competition.

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