DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC) — The important qualifier West Indies Women were scheduled to compete in, to secure a place in next year’s World Cup in New Zealand, has been postponed indefinitely due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A new date for the tournament is yet to be decided, the International Cricket Council (ICC) disclosed yesterday, in a statement confirming the postponement of the 10-team tournament that was to be held July 3 to 19 in Sri Lanka.

Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced travel restrictions and social distancing measures, and halted sports across the globe, cricket’s world governing body said it had consulted with members and the relevant government and public health authorities and decided to postpone that qualifier, as well as the start of the qualification pathway to the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2022.

“Our priority during this difficult period is to protect the well-being of players, coaches, officials, fans and the whole cricket community; and we will take well-informed, responsible decisions in relation to both postponing events and resuming international cricket,” said ICC Head of Events Chris Tetley.

“We will work in partnership with the members to find an appropriate window to reschedule these events as soon as is safe and practical to do so.”

The Women’s World Cup Qualifier was set to be contested by hosts Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and the United States, with the top three teams qualifying for the February 6 to March 7, 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup.

At that global event, a total of 31 matches, including the semi-finals and a final, are scheduled to be played, as reigning champions England defend their title.