Due to Covid-19 related implications, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has postponed three of the Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 qualifiers in Africa and Asia. While the Sub Regional Africa A and B Qualifiers have been postponed to October 25-31, 2021, the Asia A Qualifier will be played between October 23 to 29, 2021.
Regional qualifiers in Africa are three steps away from the 2022 World Cup in Australia. Originally scheduled to take place in April 2021, the qualifiers in Africa will see Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland and Uganda participating in Qualifier A. Botswana, Cameroon, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, St Helena and Tanzania will participate in Qualifier B. The main Africa Qualifier will now take place between November 24- 27, 2021, in Nigeria with Kenya, Nigeria, and the top teams from the Sub Regional Africa A and B Qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the Asia A Qualifier involving Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia was originally due to be hosted between April 3-9, 2021. This event is two steps away from Australia 2022. The rescheduled event will be hosted in Kuwait during October 2021.
These postponements have been finalized after consultation with ICC members and the relevant government and public health authorities. The decision was also influenced by the new restrictions in several participating countries to limit the spread of the new COVID-19 variants, which won’t allow the teams to train sufficiently. The other contributing factor was the extensive quarantine requirements for the visiting teams on their return to their respective countries.
Other ICC fixtures have been affected by the rise of global COVID-19 cases as well. The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Asia Division 2 has been cancelled as Thailand can’t host the tournament due to the COVID situation. Bhutan, Hong Kong, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Thailand were confirmed to participate in the Division 2 event. Since Oman and Singapore had the best records in the previous five editions of the U19 Men’s CWC qualifiers, they have now been promoted to the U19 Men’s CWC Asia Qualifier scheduled
The ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifier has also been shifted from June 2021 to August 7-13 due to travel restrictions. Along with host Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sierra Leone will compete for two ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Qualifier spots. The U19 Men’s CWC Africa Qualifier will be hosted by Nigeria from September 25 to October 1. This event will see hosts competing with Namibia and Uganda for one spot in the West Indies in early 2022.
On the flip side, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier for the 2023 edition has been rescheduled from October to September 3-11, 2021 to ease regional calendar congestion. This qualifier will feature Cameroon, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and hosts Botswana.