New Zealand pull out of U19 World Cup over quarantine restrictions

New Zealand will be conspicuously absent from next year’s Under-19 World Cup in the West Indies, after the team was forced to withdraw from the 16-team tournament owing to required quarantine restrictions for minors they would have faced upon return. In a challenging Group D that also includes the hosts West Indies, Australia, and Sri Lanka, they have been replaced by Scotland.

For the first time in the tournament’s 14-year history, it will be held in the Caribbean, and it will kick off on January 14 with a match between the hosts and Australia. The grand finale is set on February 5, 2022. Bangladesh leads Group A, which also includes England, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. India, the four-time winner, is in a group with South Africa, Ireland, and Uganda. Group C consists of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, and Zimbabwe.

Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago will host the tournament, which will take place across ten sites in four countries. The Plate tournament will be held in Trinidad and Tobago from January 25 to 31, with the Super League starting on January 26 in Antigua and Barbuda. The semi-finals will be held on February 1 at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground and on February 2 at the Coolidge Cricket Ground. The Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground will also host the final on February 5.

Ten of the 16 teams qualified for the international event on their own. Scotland received one berth despite initially missing out, and the teams that won their regional qualifying tournaments received the remaining five spots. Canada is the Americas’ representative, having beaten the United States, Argentina, and Bermuda to the top slot. PNG qualified from East Asia-Pacific after missing the previous edition due to “internal disciplinary concerns” in their regional qualifying final in 2019. Uganda qualified for the first time after defeating Namibia and Nigeria in the Africa qualifications, while Ireland qualified for the first time after defeating Scotland in the Europe qualifiers.