Ireland to wait and watch as Cricket World Cup Qualifier faces new COVID-19 variant scare

Ireland celebrate a wicket © Oisin Keniry

Cricket Ireland has said that they are monitoring the situation about the implications of reported new COVID variant in South Africa on the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. They are currently working in consultation with the Irish government and the ICC before making a decision regarding the continuous participation of Ireland in the event. The cricketing body said on Friday (November 26) after the UK government added six African countries including Zimbabwe to the travel red list.

Ireland have so far played two matches in the tournament having lost one and won one. They are scheduled to face Sri Lanka on Monday.

“We are very concerned about the latest developments regarding the reported new COVID variant in Southern Africa as we have our Women’s squad currently in Zimbabwe playing a World Cup Qualifier,” Warren Deutrom, chief executive of Cricket Ireland.

“While the circumstances around travel restrictions and health advice are a fast-moving one, we have been in close contact with the ICC, the Irish government and sports bodies in both jurisdictions to better understand the facts, and to properly inform and reassure the squad leadership.

Deutrom added that their decision will solely be based on the health and well-being of the players and support staffs.

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“Our decision-making will be first-and-foremost based on the health and safety of players and support staff. We will provide updates as soon as we can,” Deutrom.

Ireland are currently placed third in the Group A having lost the first game against West Indies before coming back to register a hard fought victory in the match against Netherlands on Thursday. Skipper Laura Delany starred with the bat and ball for the Irish side, while Orla Prendergast’s late burst brought them back to the game with a flurry of wickets.

Ireland will have a chance to go through to the Super Six of the tournament if they can finish among the top three teams in Group A. One they are in the Super Six stages, top three teams will qualify for the World Cup 2022 in New Zealand.