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ICC criticised for snubbing Thailand after deciding Women’s Cricket World Cup qualification through ODI rankings

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

The ICC has been widely criticised for its handling of the cancelled qualification event for next year’s Women’s Cricket World Cup.

With the new Omicron variant of Covid spreading through Southern Africa, the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe was cancelled at short notice, as the imminent imposition of travel restrictions meant that teams would have been trapped in Harare had the competition continued.

However, the way the ICC chose to decide qualification for next year’s World Cup has drawn criticism. The disapproval has been aimed at their decision to settle the remaining three spots according to the ICC rankings, despite the fact that Thailand, who had beaten both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe during the qualification event, do not have ODI status and therefore had no chance of earning a ranking and making it through according to the metric the ICC used. Thailand also qualified for the most recent Women’s T20 World Cup at Ireland’s expense, and impressed at the event, getting into a strong position in their final game against Pakistan before rain ruined the fixture.

Due to their lack of ranking, Thailand have also been denied a place in the next ICC Women’s Championship, the cycle of matches used to decide World Cup qualification.

On the cancellation of the event, the ICC said:

“We have explored a number of options to allow us to complete the event but it isn’t feasible and we will fly the teams out of Zimbabwe as soon as possible. Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will now qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 by virtue of their rankings, whilst Sri Lanka and Ireland will also join them in the next cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship.”

According to the ICC, this decision was made as per the tournament’s playing conditions, but the document linked to by the ICC contains no mention of the ICC’s rankings.

The head coach of Ireland Women, Ed Joyce, called on the ICC to “invite all the teams that made it to this stage into the next cycle”, adding that “it would be fair and [I] can’t see that it would make a massive difference to schedules”.

The situation was made all the more farcical by the ICC’s last-minute removal of ODI status from the qualifying event. In September 2018, ICC chief executive Dave Richardson announced that all matches at the event would be official ODIs, and therefore count towards a team’s ranking. This decision was quietly reversed in the days leading up to the competition, with only those games involving two ODI teams holding ODI status.

Players from the Thailand Women’s team expressed their disappointment at the decision on Twitter, while others simply chose to mock the ICC for their handling of the affair:

There was also criticism of the ICC’s lack of attempt to reorganise the Qualifier, with some suggesting holding the tournament directly before the Women’s Cricket World Cup as an option.

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