Three T20 WC regional qualifiers postponed due to COVID-19 - ICC

Three men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Africa and Asia have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zimbabwe players celebrate a wicket during a contest against UAE in a World Cup qualifier contest in March, 2018.   -  AP

Three men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Africa and Asia have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICC said on Thursday. The Qualifiers are pathway tournaments to the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia.

The Asia A Qualifier, which was due to be hosted between April 3 and 9 will now be played in Kuwait between October 23 to 29. Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will be the participating teams in the tournament.

The decisions were taken due to new restrictions being put in place by several participating countries to suspend sporting activities to limit the spread of the new COVID-19 variants, thereby giving no opportunity for teams to sufficiently train. The other contributing factor was the extensive quarantine requirements for the visiting teams on their return to their respective countries.

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The men’s T20 World Cup Sub Regional Africa A and B Qualifiers were due to take place in South Africa in April this year. They will now be held from October 25 to 31.

Qualifier A involves Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland and Uganda, while Qualifier B includes Botswana, Cameroon, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, St Helena and Tanzania.

“The postponements were confirmed as a result of the process undertaken for the ICC’s comprehensive contingency planning of COVID-19 after consultation with members and with the relevant government and public health authorities,” the ICC said in a statement.

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“The ICC men’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier is now confirmed to take place between 24 and 27 November in Nigeria involving Kenya, Nigeria, and the top teams from the Sub Regional Africa ‘A’ and ‘B’ Qualifiers respectively to allow sufficient time for the sub-regional qualifiers to be completed.”

In addition, the ICC U-19 men’s World Cup Asia Division 2 has also been cancelled as Thailand is unable to host it due to COVID-19 restrictions. There is no other suitable hosting option. Bhutan, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand were confirmed to participate in the Division 2 event. Oman and Singapore have now been promoted to the U-19 Men’s CWC Asia Qualifier scheduled in September in the United Arab Emirates, as a result of both teams having the best records in the previous five editions of the U-19 men’s Cricket World Cup qualifiers.

The ICC U-19 men’s World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifier has been postponed to August 7-13 from June 2021 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions where host Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sierra Leone will compete for two U-19 men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Qualifier spots.

“The dates for the U-19 Men’s CWC Africa Qualifier have been confirmed as 25 September to 1 October and will be hosted by Nigeria with Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda also competing for one spot in the West Indies in early 2022,” the ICC said.

The ICC women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier, a qualifying tournament for the showpiece event in 2023, has been rescheduled to October (October 3-11) from September to ease regional calendar congestion involving host Botswana, Cameroon, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

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