Papua New Guinea have withdrawn from the Women’s World Cup qualifiers due to a covid-19 outbreak in the camp, which hasn't left them with enough players for participation. Cricket PNG stated it was unfortunate that Covid robbed them of the opportunity to play international cricket.
The ICC Women’s World Cup qualifiers 2021-22 are scheduled to start from November 21 in Zimbawe, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) have withdrawn their participation at the tournament due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the camp. PNG were included in Group A along with West Indies, Sri Lanka, Ireland, and Netherlands. They were scheduled to play their opening fixture against West Indies in the tournament opener.
A growing number of Covid infections in the camp forced PNG into quarantine on October 30, ahead of their planned departure on November 6. However, the RT-PCR test of multiple squad members returned Covid-19 positive, which forced them to withdraw their participation from the marquee event. According to the statement released by cricket PNG media, there were not enough players who can pass the Covid tests required for flying internationally.
"We have also over the weekend worked with the ICC on later flight options to give the team more time to still be able to tour. Unfortunately, all the extra efforts to get the team to travel have been unsuccessful," read a Cricket PNG media release.
"We do not have enough players for the tour who can pass the Covid test required for flying internationally leaving the Cricket PNG Board no option other than to withdraw the team from the tour today."
The Super 6 stage of the tournament is scheduled to begin on December 1 in Zimbabwe. The ICC mega event would have been a great opportunity for PNG to ensure their spot in the 2022 Women's World Cup in New Zealand. PNG were set to travel early to Zimbabwe to get accustomed to the conditions ahead of the competition. They had nearly two years of no cricket due to the ongoing pandemic.
The release further stated that it was very unfortunate that Covid robbed the team of an opportunity to play international cricket once again.
"Unfortunately, despite everyone in Cricket PNG being fully vaccinated, Covid has robbed us of the opportunity to play international cricket once again," the statement read. "The board, management, staff and players are all devastated at this turn of events. Months of hard work have gone into this tour, and to be robbed by Covid before we could leave is hard to accept. Covid is in the community in PNG and despite putting in best practices, including vaccinations and quarantining players seven days early, it wasn't enough on this occasion.Our only comfort is that all the players and support staff who have tested positive, due to being vaccinated, have had only mild or no symptoms."
The top three teams from each group will advance in the Super six stage with group stage points carrying over to the next phase. The top three teams at the end of Super 6 will earn a spot in the Women’s World Cup 2022 in New Zealand.