England captain Heather Knight has admitted she feels "pretty gutted" about the ICC's decision to postpone the Women's World Cup from 2021 to 2022, and raised fears that boards will use it as "an excuse… to put women's cricket on the back burner".
The ICC made the decision on Friday, citing the need to maintain the "integrity of the tournament" by ensuring that all teams had sufficient preparation.
"We have taken the decision to move the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup to give players from every competing nation, the best opportunity to be ready for the world's biggest stage and there is still a global qualifier to complete to decide the final three teams," Manu Sawhney, the ICC's chief executive, said.
"Moving the event by 12 months gives all competing teams the chance to play a sufficient level of cricket ahead of both the qualification event and leading into a Cricket World Cup so the integrity of the tournament is maintained."
ALSO READ: Why the Women's World Cup was postponed
But Knight expressed her fears that boards would not give sufficient attention to women's cricket without a world tournament to prepare for.
Pretty gutted to be honest. I know tough decisions have to be made right now & it would have taken a lot of work (and $$), but it was feasible in NZ. Hopefully it's not an excuse for boards to put women's cricket on the back burner for the next 12 months with no WC to prepare for https://t.co/a2jXOlySua— Heather Knight (@Heatherknight55) August 8, 2020
Alyssa Healy, the Australia wicketkeeper, also expressed her frustration at the decision, which she labelled "remarkable" in response to a tweet from journalist Scott Bailey comparing the number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand and India.
Remarkable— Alyssa Healy (@ahealy77) August 8, 2020
Knight's England team were back in training this week ahead of their series against South Africa, which is due to start at the end of this month. It will be the first women's international cricket to be played since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.