Dane van Niekerk expresses disappointment over World Cup postponement  

South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk has expressed disappointment over the postponement of the Women’s World Cup in 2021 which was scheduled to happen in New Zealand. The International Cricket Council (ICC) in a virtual meeting announced that the women’s event has been pushed back to 2022 keeping in mind the conditions of the all the participating teams in the competition.
Speaking exclusively to Women’s CricZone, van Niekerk said, “It is obviously very disappointing. Everybody looked forward to the World Cup first off all especially after a long lay-off due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. It’s obviously very shocking, we were looking forward to the New Zealand event and all our preparations went into that. I am quite disappointed with the postponement.”
The Proteas had an excellent year where they whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 before making it to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in Australia. That was their second top-four finish in the history of the event. The players have already returned to training following a long gap due to the pandemic and are preparing for the proposed England tour in September. India were also slated to be a part of the tri-series but withdrew themselves last month. It will be a bilateral series now.
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Meanwhile, New Zealand Minister of Sports Grant Robertson has accepted ICC’s decision but stated that they were ready to host the tournament in 2021. “This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world,” New Zealand Sports Minister Grant Robertson said in a statement on Saturday (August 7).
“The organising committee in New Zealand has been working with the government to ensure a safe and enjoyable tournament could be played. We could have done it in 2021, but now we will look to 2022. As a government, we have reiterated our commitment to supporting the tournament.”
However, New Zealand opener Suzie Bates has admitted that the extra 365 days of preparation is ‘daunting’ but won’t be deterred by the delay. “Knowing you’ve got a home World Cup, it’s really motivating, especially at my age when I’ve never had that opportunity,” Bates told 1 NEWS.
“That was kind of a carrot that I knew I wanted to play until at least then.” The 32-year-old also stated she can’t think of too many of her teammates wanting to retire before then. “Maybe after that you might see a big exodus, but we’ll have to wait and see. We were joking that we may have the oldest average age that’s ever competed at a World Cup now,” she said.
The format of the postponed ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will remain as it was for 2021. Five teams – India, Australia, New Zealand (hosts), South Africa and England – have already qualified for the event and that will stand for 2022. The original global qualification event to determine the final three teams to the main event was scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in July 2020, but this was postponed due to COVID-19. The qualification event will now be held in 2021.