COVID-19 DISLODGES THREE UPCOMING ICC MEN’S CUP LEAGUE 2 SERIES – ADDS CHALLENGES HOSTING EVENTS IN CANADA THIS SUMMER
Last Friday (February 11, 2021) the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the postponement due to COVID_19 of three upcoming series in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2. The postponements of series scheduled between March and May 2021 “are due to the current travel restrictions between countries, the quarantine time required before matches and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.”
These decisions were taken “as part of the ICC’s ongoing comprehensive contingency planning process across all ICC events and after consultation with Members and with the relevant government and public health authorities.”
Challenges for Canadian Cricket
These postponements and the uncertainties and challenges associated with COVID-19 coincide with recently announced changes by the Government of Canada of new requirements that add to international travel challenges that could impact some scheduled events in Canada this summer. All arriving internationally at a designated Canadian airport now have to undertake port-of-entry COVID-19 tests and must bear the related costs of up to 3 days in a designated hotel before completing the rest of a 14-day quarantine period after a negative test result. The mind boggles at what costs might come as a result of a positive test result, even a test reversed by a second test. These new Canadian airport point-of-entry requirements and ongoing COVID-19 challenges clearly add, in my opinion, to the planning challenges for Cricket Canada in hosting international tournaments this summer. Canada is due to host a series in Challenge League A – part of the tier 3 path to the 2023 ICC World Cricket Cup – and the ICC Americas T20 Regional championship.
Now in the shorter term, the likes of Canadian international Nitish Kumar, who is currently playing in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup for Leeward Islands Hurricanes in Antigua, is likely to be hit by the new secured hotel stay costs while waiting for airport test results when he returns to Canada. A cost that would not have featured on his original plans. Some other Canadian internationals may currently be playing in other parts of the cricket world and may face the added costs of the secured hotel residence awaiting test results depending on how long the current airport test requirement remains in force.
Looking ahead to this season in Canada, any ICC Associate national team visiting Canada to play in a men’s or junior international tournament might be faced by something like an extra cost of $2,000 for the 3-day test results wait at a hotel for each of some 20-30 members of a touring squad, including players, management, coaches, physios and analysts. The importance of ICC Americas regional tournaments would surely mean leading teams would want to bring some standby players as cover for potential injuries. My brain prevents me from mentioning possible illnesses, not even matters like eating different foods or drinking different water to what some may normally eat or drink.
It has not slipped my mind that Canada’s women are due to play in the ICC Regional tournament in the USA later this year. What could become the third Canada GT20 is also on the schedule for this summer.
In passing, I would suggest it would be a good idea for those at the helm of official cricket provincially and in leagues or competitions operating in Ontario to solidify some of the better standards for sports participation in these COVID-19 days that some leagues and certain municipalities issued, adopted and enhanced during the course of last year.
ICC and Members Still on Guard on the Way to the 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup
Friday’s ICC media release outlined the background of World Cricket League 2 as being “part of the qualifying pathway to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.” The postponed series were scheduled in Oman between March 19 and 29, 2021, in Papua New Guinea between April 14 and 24, 2021 and a second series in Papua New Guinea between May 13 and 23, 2021.
Oman had been due to host USA and Nepal in ODI Tri-Series. The first ODI Tri-series in Papua NewGuinea was due to include Oman and Scotland. The second ODI Tri-series in Papua New Guinea was to feature Namibia and USA.
Friday’s media release underlined the ongoing work behind the scenes in these COVID-19 days: “The ICC is to work with the hosts and participating Members to find an appropriate window where the qualification pathway fixtures can be safely and practically rescheduled before the cut-off date of 28 February 2023. The window for rescheduling fixtures has been extended to the latest possible date to provide the best opportunity for qualification to be determined on the field of play.”
Meanwhile on the ICC Associates Trail
The next scheduled World Cricket League Division 2 series is due to be played during July 2021 when Scotland are due to host Nepal and Namibia for six ODIs.
ICC Head of Events, Chris Tetley said: “We have decided to postpone the three upcoming series involving six Members in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 competition. The ICC’s priority continues to be to protect the well-being of players, coaches, officials and fans. We have fully assessed the situation with both hosts and all participating Members, and taking into account current travel restrictions, quarantine time before matches and on government and public health authority advice in relation to COVID-19, the best course of action was to postpone these series.
“We are actively working with Members to identify suitable windows to reschedule the three series. We are likely to face more challenges over the coming months but will continue to try and maximise the opportunity for Members to qualify on the field of play.”
Eddie Norfolk, Toronto, February 14, 2021.