Inaugural ICC Women’s U-19 World Cup likely to be deferred

The International Cricket Council in October 2019 had announced a path-breaking initiative for women’s cricket with an U-19 World Cup starting from 2021.

A majority of national governing bodies are understood to have been averse to go ahead with the ICC U-19 Women's World Cup in 2021 due to the pandemic (Representative Image).   -  REPRESENTATIONAL PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

The pandemic is set to result in deferment of the inaugural edition of the Under-19 women’s World Cup from 2021 to 2023. The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board is likely to take the call during its meetings on March 30-31.

The ICC in October 2019 had announced a path-breaking initiative for women’s cricket with the U-19 World Cup starting 2021. The first tournament was awarded to Bangladesh. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak having far from subsided across the globe, the ICC Board is likely to reschedule the event to 2023.

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A majority of national governing bodies are understood to have been averse to go ahead with the tournament with very little or no time to prepare for their respective teams ahead of the global event.

“We haven’t been able to host any junior cricket – men and women – this season owing to the pandemic and same is the case for most other countries. Since it’s a new event, it would be best in everyone’s interest if the event is deferred by two years so that all the teams will get enough time to put up their best show and make the event a grand success,” said a BCCI insider, preferring anonymity.

- Fate of men’s U19 WC to be discussed -

While the women’s U-19 event is set to be postponed, the ICC Board is likely to wait and watch before suspending or deferring the men’s Under-19 World Cup, scheduled to be played in the West Indies in 2022.

Just like it did last year while waiting till the last moment before rescheduling the T20 World Cup, the ICC Board is likely to give all the stakeholders more time before arriving at a decision. At least half the major cricket nations have skipped domestic under-19 tournaments this season due to the COVID-19 outbreak.