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U-19 not professional athletes, need to take care of them in bubble: ICC CEO Allardice | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: 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 CEO Geoff Allardice spoke on the eve of the tournament.
Flexibility in scheduling
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.
New Zealand pulling out…
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.
Managing multiple venues…
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.
Plans around U-19 Women’s World Cup…
It is in 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 programmes in place and squad structures organized.
Future of strict bubbles…
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.

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