LONDON-Ed Joyce, the head coach of Ireland’s women’s cricket team, reflected on the postponement of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ICC on Tuesday, 12 May, officially announced the postponement of two World Cup qualifying events – the women’s Qualifier, which was due to take place in Sri Lanka between 3 and 19 July, and the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Europe Division 2, which was scheduled to be played in Denmark between 24 and 30 July.

“Naturally we are disappointed to see this important qualifying tournament postponed, but it is an understandable situation given the circumstances,” said Joyce in a statement. “The chance to qualify for a world cup is always a big moment in a player’s career, and I know - before lockdown – the performance squad were well positioned, some in Ireland and others playing club cricket during the Irish winter in Australia,” he added.

Joyce revealed that he’s been in touch with the women’s team, conducting video-conferences and working on fitness programmes, but also added “there is no substitute to getting out and playing.” “We had a lead-in programme in place for the Qualifier before the pandemic hit, but – like everyone else – we’ve had to adapt quickly to lockdown conditions. We have continued fitness programmes and held numerous team learning sessions via video-conferencing over the last two months, but despite the opportunities that these sessions offer, there is no substitute to getting out and playing, so we’re all eager to get out and play when conditions permit.

“The fixture schedule ahead is certainly going to be a busy one for all cricket nations given the postponements, and we’ll need to develop a preparation programme in the lead up to the tournament, so we hope the ICC can give ample notification of the new dates. “It is a challenging time for everyone, but we have a resilient young squad and I know they’ll be dedicated to the task once we’re back underway.”