ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022
COVID-hit teams could field nine players at World Cup
The ICC have confirmed a change to the playing conditions for the upcoming women's World Cup in New Zealand
24 February 2022, 02:32 PM AEST
Games at the upcoming ICC Women's Cricket World Cup could go ahead with just nine players in a team as organisers look to keep the tournament on track despite rising COVID-19 case numbers in New Zealand.
The International Cricket Council 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.
"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 today.
"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."
Should Australia be forced to call on fielding reinforcements during the tournament, they have former international player Shelley Nitschke on their coaching staff, while media manager Lucy Williams has played at state level for South Australia.
In 2015, the Australian men's team used their masseur, Grant Baldwin, as a substitute fielder for a Test match against New Zealand in Adelaide. Baldwin had previously played second XI cricket for Victoria.
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.
Daily case numbers in New Zealand rose beyond 6000 today to a new high of 6137.
The World Cup schedule features 31 matches at six venues in less than a month and Tetley flagged that games may need to be rescheduled should there be a significant COVID 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."
Tournament CEO Andrea Nelson 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.
"We are taking it week-by-week as we work our way through, but in the first week it is likely there will be some availability at matches," she said.
"Unfortunately at some venues we will have to cancel existing ticket holders. That's not something we want to do, and we are working really hard to see how many people we can get into the stadiums."
Originally scheduled for 2021, the World Cup is being held across the Tasman despite New Zealand being one of the few countries in the world to maintain a hard international border, which meant all teams had to quarantine upon their arrival.
The tournament begins on Friday week, with Australia's opening match against England on March 5.
ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington. Travelling reserves: Heather Graham, Georgia Redmayne
Australia's World Cup 2022 fixtures
Mar 30: Basin Reserve, Wellington, 8am AEDT
Mar 31: Hagley Park Christchurch, 12pm AEDT
Apr 3: Hagley Park Christchurch, 11am AEDT
All matches to be broadcast in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports