Women's ODI World Cup matches could go ahead with nine players if Covid hits

ICC has adjusted playing conditions in an attempt to enable matches to take place as scheduled

The Women's World Cup trophy on display, Tauranga, January 12, 2022

The Women's ODI World Cup begins early next month  •  International Cricket Council

Matches at the Women's ODI World Cup in New Zealand could go ahead with nine players in a team in order to keep the competition going amid Covid-19.
ICC's head of events Chris Tetley confirmed on Thursday that the playing conditions would allow teams to field a reduced side should they be struck by a Covid outbreak in their squad, supplemented by substitute fielders from within the management and coaching staff.
"If it becomes necessary we would allow a team to field nine players as an exception for this environment," Tetley said. "And if they had female substitutes from within their management team, we would allow two substitutes to play - non-batting, non-bowling - to enable a game to take place."
Teams had already been permitted to bring up to three travelling reserves with them for the tournament who can be switched in and out of the main 15-player squads if anyone contracts Covid.
Tetley added that rescheduling fixtures would be considered if needed, although said there were "logistical constraints" around the tournament.
"We'll be asking teams to show maximum flexibility and we'll be as flexible as possible if the need arises to fulfil our objective, which is to get the games on," he said.
New Zealand is currently experiencing a steep rise in Covid-19 cases since the Omicron variant got into the community with more than 6000 reported on Thursday.
The country is operating under a 'red' setting of a traffic light system which severely reduces attendance at sports evenings, but tournament CEO Andrea Nelson said that they were hopeful of being able to have small numbers of spectators at group matches.
"Under the red traffic light setting we can currently operate in pods of 100. We are taking it week-by-week as we work our way through, but in the first week it is likely there will be some availability at matches," she said.
"Unfortunately, at some venues we will have to cancel existing ticket holders. That's not something we want to do, and we are working really hard to see how many people we can get into the stadiums."
The tournament begins on March 4 when hosts New Zealand face West Indies in Mount Maunganui.