KARACHI: Following the detection of a new variant of COVID-19 in South Africa and placement of Zimbabwe on the red list by various countries, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is pondering to move the Women’s World Cup qualifier to United Arab Emirates
The ICC Women’s World Cup qualifier is currently being played in Zimbabwe. The latest travel ban announcement was made by the United Arab Emirates on Friday night.
“The UAE on Friday suspended direct and indirect flights to and from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 variants,” the UAE media reported.
Following the announcement, the ICC headquarters in Dubai came into action and, according to sources, is working on various operations to evacuate the players from Zimbabwe before November 29 – the day when the ban would come into effect.
A source told Geo News that the ICC is in contact with the event-organising committee, the host board, and all participating boards of the World Cup qualifiers.
Nine teams, including Pakistan, are currently participating in the ICC Women World Cup qualifiers.
“One option, which seems very much likely, is to fly teams out of Zimbabwe to Dubai on November 28th and have remainders of the tournament played in the UAE,” the source said.
“The matches scheduled for Saturday are likely to be played as planned,” the source said. Pakistan is scheduled to play Zimbabwe today.
If moving remainders of the tournament is not possible, then the ICC will opt for suspending the tournament.
“One thing is for sure: the event is unlikely to continue in Zimbabwe after Saturday’s matches,” the source said.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is also in contact with the team management in the UAE as well as the ICC.
The source added that the PCB’s logistics department is also working to prepare a backup plan in case of an unforeseen situation.