We'll be ready: Lanning waits for 2021 World Cup call
Australia captain confident the right call will be made on the future of next year's event in New Zealand
23 July 2020, 08:58 AM AEST
Australia captain Meg Lanning has welcomed news of an imminent decision on the future of next year’s Women’s ODI World Cup, conceding it is a complex matter that extends far beyond New Zealand’s ability to host it.
The one-day World Cup is the only piece of silverware missing from No.1 ranked Australia’s trophy cabinet and it is one Lanning’s team are desperate to win it back after their shock semi-final defeat at the last tournament in 2017.
The International Cricket Council on Monday announced the men’s 2020 T20 World Cup, due to be held in Australia this October and November, had officially been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the future of the women’s 50-over event remained less clear, with the ICC stating it would "continue to evaluate the situation" as planning for the event continued as scheduled, before New Zealand Cricket chair Greg Barclay revealed a call would be made in the next fortnight.
Lanning said through the various stages of lockdown in Melbourne she had continued preparing as though the event would go ahead as planned from February 6, 2021 – but would accept a decision to postpone if the cards fell that way.
"You want to know one way or another whether it’s going ahead, and fingers crossed things continue to improve around the world and the tournament can go ahead," Lanning told reporters on Wednesday.
"In an ideal world you’d like to get (certainty) … but I understand there’s a lot of complexities involved in the situation from week to week and who knows what the situation’s going to be in a few months’ time, so it would be a very difficult job for the organisers to work out what the best plan of attack is.
"But as players we’re just preparing for it to go ahead and we’ll just wait for the decision to be made ... and make sure we’re ready to go if that’s the case."
New Zealand’s success in eliminating community spread of the novel coronavirus, and the smaller scale of the eight-team event compared to the 16-team men’s T20 event postponed in Australia, has raised hopes the 50-over tournament can proceed as planned.
Large crowds have already returned to sporting events in the country, however, several questions hang over the event – not least of all the cost and logistical implications of getting seven teams into New Zealand during a global pandemic.
Lanning said she would have no concerns about attending the tournament if it did go ahead early next year, trusting the ICC and New Zealand organising committee to put all the necessary safety measures in place.
However, other questions remain. Very little international women’s cricket is currently scheduled to be played between now and February – currently, only Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England have fixtures in place for the remainder of 2020, while India are due to visit Australia in January.
Crucially, the qualifying tournament for the event was postponed in July, meaning only five of the eight competing countries have been confirmed.
"That’s something the ICC are going to have to weigh up in terms of whether the tournament goes ahead," Lanning.
"Will every team in the competition have an opportunity to prepare adequately for a World Cup?
"That’s a decision they’ve got to make and there’ll still a few teams who have to go through the qualifying process to work out who’s even going to be at the World Cup, so I’m not sure how that’s going to pan out either.
"(So) there’s a few more decisions to be made around it, not just simply whether it can go ahead or not."