Women's ODI World Cup: Teams can play matches even with nine fit players
Teams have been permitted to bring extra reserves with them to New Zealand, beyond the 15-player squad, so players can be brought in and out of the squad in the case of Covid infections
Teams at the women's ODI World Cup starting next week will be allowed to take the field even with nine fit players in case of a Covid-19 outbreak.
According to reports from New Zealand, which will be hosting the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup from March 4-April 3, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that female members of a team's support staff will be permitted to field in a match in the case of a significant Covid outbreak, with games to proceed so long as a team has a minimum of nine players available.
Normally, a team has to have eleven players with substitutes from the squad of 15 allowed to take the field in case more than one player is unavailable. But with the organisers looking to keep the tournament on track despite rising Covid-19 case numbers in New Zealand, the ICC has made these changes to the rules of play.
"If it becomes necessary, we would allow a team to field nine players as an exception for this environment," Chris Tetley, the ICC's Head of Events, said on Thursday.
"And if they had female substitutes from within their management team, we would enable two substitutes to play, non-batting, non-bowling … to enable a game to take place."
Teams have been permitted to bring extra reserves with them to New Zealand, beyond the 15-player squad, so players can be brought in and out of the squad in the case of Covid infections.
We'v'e allowed squads to bring additional travelling reserves so that they can replace on a temporary basis if needs be, because of Covid, players in and out of the squad during the event which is four or five-week-long event, so there's opportunity for players, maybe to contract Covid," Tetley said.
Daily case numbers in New Zealand rose beyond 6000 on Thursday to a new high of 6137.
The World Cup schedule features 31 matches at six venues in less than a month and Tetley said that games could be rescheduled should there be a significant Covid-19 outbreak in a team.
"We would, were it necessary, reschedule fixtures if it's possible," he said. "There are a number of logistical restraints upon us, but we'll be asking teams to show maximum flexibility and we'll be as flexible as possible if the need arises to fulfil our objective, which is to get the games on."
Cricket World Cup chief executive Andrea Nelson said players will be following some "pretty strict protocols to keep them safe".
She said crowd numbers would be below capacity due to current restrictions but would vary from venue to venue and possibly change as the tournament progresses.
Originally scheduled for 2021, the World Cup is being held in New Zealand as it is one of the few countries in the world to maintain a hard international border, which meant all teams had to quarantine upon their arrival.