ICC does away with strict bio-bubbles for the World Cup in New Zealand

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ICC does away with strict bio-bubbles for the World Cup in New Zealand

ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022 © Getty Images

With COVID-19 and its persistent threats lurking around the World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) expects the participating players to abide by all the COVID-19 guidelines for the smooth conduct of the tournament. ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said that the governing body is prepared for the disruptions (if any) that may occur during the course of the tournament.

The World Cup is set to begin on March 4 with the tournament opener between the hosts New Zealand and West Indies at Mount Maunganui. The whole tournament is slated to be played across six different venues in New Zealand.

“I think the approach is around having a managed environment for this tournament and the testing will be frequent. It is not like it is going to be daily testing or anything," Allardice said in an online interaction ahead of the mega-event.

“It is really about players taking responsibility. We are asking the players and the teams to just be sensible, stay away from the areas likely to create transmission," he mentioned.

Although the ICC has allowed teams to go ahead with a game even if they can field nine players, Allardice is hopeful that the situation won't become so appalling.

“It was something that we had to do over the last few months since the Omicron outbreak. Almost all of our tournaments, we have been challenged with the number of all players being unavailable due to isolation for positive COVID tests," Allardice said in regards to the nine player arrangement.

The nine player arrangement was introduced for the first time in the recently culminated U-19 World Cup in the West Indies as the tournament was marred by the impact of COVID-19.

India, who won their record fifth U-19 World title suffered a COVID-19 outbreak which forced six of its players including skipper Yash Dhull to miss some of the games.

“I think one of the shifts is we had quite a close call in the West Indies with the men’s Under-19 World Cup, a month or so ago, where there were a number of teams that had breaks.

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“And I think we needed to have some contingency plans. The bottom line is we want eleven versus eleven. We have got squads of 15, I think all teams are travelling with some extra reserve players as well, as a contingency," the ICC CEO said.

“…the announcement or introduction of those protocols was very much given the uncertainty of the events that we were dealing with. It is just a contingency. And I am hoping that every match takes place as scheduled with no interruptions, Allardice added.

Allardice also admitted that the apex body has been finding it really difficult to host tournaments since the onset of the pandemic.

“The issue with quarantine and isolation in the lead up to a tournament, is something we had to work around in different ways for the last 18 months for international cricket and for our events, for the last nine months or so.

“For us it is a challenge because we deal with different governments in country to country and they all have a different approach to dealing with COVID," he added.