Geoff Allardice speaks at the ICC annual conference in Dublin IDI/Getty Images
Geoff Allardice speaks at the ICC annual conference in Dublin IDI/Getty Images

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Geoff Allardice, ICC CEO spoke on the eve of the U-19 World Cup 2022 tournament. With the U-19 World Cup starting on Friday, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has focused on making things easier for the participating boys in a bubble in the Caribbean and is ready to tweak schedules if there’s a Covid-19 outbreak.

ICC U19 World Cup 2022 is all set to kickstart on January 14, 2022. A total of 16 teams are part of it. These 16 teams are divided into 4 groups of 4 teams each. A total of 48 ODI matches will take place during ICC U19 World Cup 2022 and multiple games are scheduled to be played each day. There are 4 groups in ICC U19 World Cup 2022- A, B, C, and D.

U19 World Cup Trophy. Photo- ICC
U19 World Cup Trophy. Photo- ICC

Geoff Allardice Said A Solitary Covid-19 Case Won’t Stop A Match And Supports New Zealand Who Withdrew From U19 World Cup 2022

Despite Covid-19 causing disruptions in international cricket as recently as this week – with the T20I series between West Indies and Ireland in Jamaica being called off and two ODIs being rescheduled – ICC CEO Geoff Allardice has said that the bio-bubble at the Under-19 World Cup starting January 14 in the West Indies will work in such a way that players can enjoy what is probably their very first international competition in the environment.

“We need to make this tournament work. We are nimble and flexible with scheduling. It’s an important event for cricket for the development of the game. So many countries field and prepare their U19 squads. For the players, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“Situation in Africa in Nov-Dec saw flight schedule disrupted and the possibility to get three teams looked challenging. Isolation on arrival is going to be most important. We will get some positive cases at some stage and we will be flexible. We have already adjusted once to accommodate the late arrival of Afghanistan. One positive case won’t stop a match, ” said Geoff Allardice on flexibility in scheduling

Ireland vs West Indies. Image Source: Twitter
Ireland vs West Indies. Image Source: Twitter.
Geoff Allardice has supported New Zealand Cricket’s decision to withdraw from U19 World Cup 2022. Earlier, New Zealand withdrew from the tournament due to the strict quarantine protocols within their country for minors upon their return. Scotland was selected as the replacement team for New Zealand.

“We need to understand the isolation on return for New Zealand. We are not talking about professional athletes. We are talking about young kids going to the other side of the world for a month and then spending 14 days in quarantine on return. We can understand why the board took the decision,” said Geoff Allardice on New Zealand pulling out from U19 World Cup 2022.

“The teams travel only after the group stage. We have got four islands involved because we needed the flexibility and contingencies if changes were made to the schedule. It’s not a strict bubble. We ensured there’s some freedom given they will be there for a month to enjoy the experience of being part of such a tournament. There’s mental health service within the organization in West Indies,” said Geoff Allardice on managing multiple venues

Geoff Allardice also opened up about the quarantine protocols and measures ICC has taken for the success of U19 World Cup 2022.

Geoff Allardice: Women’s U19 World Cup Is On The Schedule For January 2023

Geoff Allardice said that the first edition of the Women’s U-19 World Cup will be held and that the ICC is on the lookout for potential hosts to host the event. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Bangladesh but was postponed to 2023 given the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases all around the world.

“It is on the schedule for January 2023. We will be looking for potential hosts in two months. We got the women’ World Cup, CWG, U-19 World Cup, and a senior women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa. The qualifications will be finalized in the board meetings. We are looking at a similar structure for the men’s U-19 World Cup. This has been discussed for a couple of years and Covid has postponed the first edition and it has given some countries time to get their programs in place and squad structures organized.” said Geoff Allardice on plans around U-19 Women’s World Cup

Geoff Allardice-Getty Images
Geoff Allardice-Getty Images.
He further said that the qualification process for the tournament will start later this year and similar would be followed for the Men’s U-19 World Cup as well. The schedule for the men’s event will be finalized before April.

“At this stage, it’s difficult to get a standard protocol. It depends on the host countries and the governments. They have different definitions for close contacts. It’s taking a toll on players and officials. Over time it has relaxed with certain countries adopting living-with-the-virus in a pragmatic way,” said Geoff Allardice on future of strict bubbles.

The Women’s U-19 World Cup was thought to be introduced in October 2019 when Shashank Manohar was the chairman of the ICC. The ICC media release further stated that the women’s event will be held every two years.