The ICC are considering moving Women’s World T20 group games from St Lucia to Antigua because of heavy rains and a grim forecast for the next week.
The first St Lucia match of the tournament between England and Sri Lanka was rained off and thunderstorms are forecast until at least next Wednesday. The forecast in Guyana is, by contrast, fine and sunny which means if more games on St Lucia are called off the tournament – which is being played for the most part in separate groups on each island – would be vastly lopsided in matches completed.
ESPNcricinfo understands that, while no formal discussions have taken place with teams or the host boards, and while there has only been one game cancelled so far, the ICC is exploring the logistical issues involved in relocating at least part of the group stage to ensure matches.
Those logistic factors are significant and may be impossible to overcome. Television broadcast equipment, including the main satellite, would have to be flown between the islands and that would necessitate a charter to guarantee it wouldn’t be held in customs. The broadcasters would also have to agree to changes in the schedule.
Other issues include the teams accepting the relocation, the wickets in Antigua being prepared for extra games and the cost of charter flights and availability of hotels.
While officials are not yet panicking and remain hopeful the forecast will improve, ESPNcricinfo understands if the logistical problems could be easily resolved, the decision would be made sooner rather than later.
If all remaining matches in St Lucia were to be washed out, then England would still qualify for the knockouts by virtue of being second seeds in their group, behind West Indies, who beat Bangladesh in the group’s opening fixture on Friday.
Ironically, a relocation could end up counting against England, given that their second fixture, against Bangladesh on Monday, could come too soon to avoid another washout. If that were to happen, England could need to beat West Indies in their final group-stage match to reach the semi-finals.
Heather Knight, England’s captain, said that the Gros Islet outfield was the wettest she had ever encountered in her career, and gave a cautious welcome to the prospect of a relocation.
“If it meant we got the games in then potentially,” Knight said. “It hasn’t stopped raining since we arrived. We are hopeful that it will stop raining but if that is an option, it is up to the ICC to decide obviously, not me.”
She was also critical of the lack of facilities available to her team, in the absence of any opportunity for middle practice.
“At some point we will get some cricket in, whether it is a five-over smash, and we’re going to have to be ready,” she said. “We are probably going to have to be slightly inventive to keep the girls going. Cricket is hard to play without facilities.”
Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.