Countries who wish to take part in the Qualifying Tournament for the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be required to pay their own hotel and travel costs, CRICKETher understands.
The Qualifier, which is due to take place in Malaysia in January 2022, will decide who takes the final, eighth spot in the women’s cricket event at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July, alongside hosts England and the six highest ranked T20 sides – Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa and Barbados (representing West Indies).
All Commonwealth countries featuring in the current global T20 rankings were invited by the ICC to participate in the Qualifier. Scotland have already confirmed their participation, alongside hosts Malaysia, but with a substantial travel and accommodation price tag now attached to participation it looks less and less likely that other teams will be able to join them.
Northern Ireland have already confirmed that they will not be participating, due to the fact that the majority of players in the Ireland national team originate from the Republic of Ireland, rendering them ineligible according to current CWG criteria.
With the new Omicron variant wreaking havoc with global travel (and leading to the abandonment of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in November), there is also a risk that any qualifier may be derailed and teams hit with a possible quarantine bill on return home. This may well serve to deter other possible entrants.
For Scotland, this set of circumstances represents a real opportunity to qualify for participation in the Commonwealth Games – an exciting prospect for a team who have never yet featured in a World Cup tournament.
But for other countries, the reluctance of the ICC to provide adequate resources to facilitate participation in the Qualifying Tournament will be a severe blow. The ICC have previously labelled the CWG “a huge opportunity to turbo-charge the growth of the game”; unfortunately, it appears that this “turbo-charging” does not extend to countries outside of the elite few.