The Ireland women’s cricket team, including a 16-year-old player from Northern Ireland, may have to quarantine on their return from Zimbabwe as urgent discussions continued yesterday evening over the “very concerning” new Covid variant.
Northern Irish sports stars are facing a race against time to get home before the UK government’s enhanced restrictions on travellers come into effect at 4am on Sunday.
In South Africa, golfers Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin have withdrawn from the DP World Tour’s Joburg Open, while Cara Murray and Amy Hunter are both part of the Ireland women’s cricket squad playing World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
Amy celebrated her 16th birthday in October and became the youngest person to hit a one-day international century.
In a further twist, Ireland’s scheduled opponents on Monday, Sri Lanka, have reported three cases of Covid-19 in their 16-player squad. Last night the status of the cricket tournament remained unclear, but Cricket Ireland had been advised there are no flights out of Zimbabwe over the weekend.
Cricket Ireland has been actively monitoring and engaging in discussions with the ICC and government about the new Covid variant and its potential implications for teams participating at the current Women’s World Cup Qualifiers.
The Ireland Women’s cricket team is currently based in Harare, and have played two matches in the group stages of the tournament, with their next match scheduled for Monday.
After the side’s win yesterday over the Netherlands, it is likely they will progress to the Super 6 round, where matches are currently scheduled for December 1, 3 and 5.
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said: “Our decision-making will be first-and-foremost based on the health and safety of players and support staff.”