Meg Lanning: Equal preparation important if 2021 Women's ODI World Cup goes ahead
The Australia captain acknowledges it could be tough for teams to get enough cricket
With a decision around whether the 2021 Women's ODI World Cup goes ahead in New Zealand expected in the next couple of weeks, Australia captain Meg Lanning has acknowledged one of the issues will be whether all teams will be able to have adequate preparation due to Covid-19.
While New Zealand has led the way in coping with the pandemic, and Australia has done well albeit there are now worries over the second wave, a number of countries either already qualified or hoping to be involved are currently far more severely hit.
The qualifying tournament, which had been set for Sri Lanka in July, was postponed in May although ESPNcricinfo understands that if the World Cup still goes ahead, the plan would be to stage the qualifiers in the UAE during November.
As things stand there remain three spots up for grabs in the World Cup, between Bangladesh, Ireland, Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, USA and Netherlands.
"It's something the ICC will have to weigh up in whether the tournament goes ahead," Lanning said. "Will every team in the competition have the opportunity to prepare adequately for a World Cup? There are still a few teams that have to go through the qualifying process so I'm not sure how that will pan out.
"There's a few more decisions to be made around it rather than whether it can just go ahead or not. It's a pretty difficult position to be in, but as a player you want things to be as equal and fair as they can be heading into a big world tournament and I'm sure the organisers will make sure that happens."
It had been hoped that India would be able to travel to England for a tri-series also involving South Africa but the BCCI has said that won't happen although there is belief South Africa will still tour.
While Australia and New Zealand are scheduled to play each other in late September, and India are due to tour Australia in January, there is no other women's cricket currently in the calendar.
New Zealand's trip across the Tasman is due to include three T20Is, all play in Sydney, followed by three ODIs played across Townsville, Cairns and the Gold Coast in Queensland.
"The planning is for that to still go ahead as scheduled, there needs to be flexibility around things if they change but from what I've heard still planning for that to happen which is really great for the players to look forward to and an end point to pre-season," Lanning said.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo