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Papua New Guinea withdraw from Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier

Papua New Guinea have withdrawn from the upcoming Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier after multiple positive COVID-positive tests within the playing group.

PNG were due to face Group A opponents West Indies on the tournament’s opening day in Zimbabwe.

There will be no replacement for PNG in the Group, which will now consist of four teams, with the West Indies joined by Sri Lanka, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The team had gone into quarantine in Port Moresby from 30 October, in a similar practice to their male counterparts ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, and were due to depart for Zimbabwe on November 6.

ICC Head of Events Chris Tetley expressed disappointment on behalf of the governing body.

“I really feel for the PNG players, who have been preparing extensively for this event and for whom it would have been a wonderful experience playing against several top sides in Harare, with the opportunity to qualify for the Women’s World Cup and the next round of the ICC Women’s Championship. We hope that they are back playing international cricket soon and continue to develop as a team.

“The safety of the players and everyone involved in our events is paramount and we will go ahead with the tournament maintaining our bio-security standards.”

In a media release by Cricket PNG, the board stressed its remorse, stating that all options were exhausted despite the best efforts of both their board and the ICC.

"Multiple PCR tests have been done on nearly a daily basis to try to give players the opportunity to test negative," the release stated.

"We have also over the weekend worked with the ICC on later flight options to give the team more time to still be able to tour. Unfortunately, all the extra efforts to get the team to travel have been unsuccessful.”

The Qualifier will determine the final three entrants for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 to be held in New Zealand from 4 March to 3 April, joining five teams who have already qualified through the ICC Women’s Championship – Australia, England, India, South Africa and hosts New Zealand.

The three qualifiers as well as the next two teams will also ensure places in the next ICC Women’s Championship (IWC) along with the top five from last time, as the number of teams in the third cycle of the IWC goes up from eight to 10 teams.

The 2021 Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier begins on 21 November.

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