The nine-player-a-side game is already in place in the ICC guidelines related to playing conditions and has been in effect since the U-19 World Cup in the West Indies, where India won the title for a record fifth time.
ICC’s head of events Chris Tetley said that the prevalent playing conditions allow teams to field a truncated side if there is a COVID outbreak in their squad, supplemented by substitute fielders from within the management and coaching staff.
“If it becomes necessary we would allow a team to field nine players as an exception for this environment,” Tetley was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“And if they had female substitutes from within their management team, we would allow two substitutes to play – non-batting, non-bowling – to enable a game to take place.”
Keeping the pandemic scenario in mind, all teams have been allowed to take along three extra players as travelling reserves, who can be brought in the 15-member main squad should there be a COVID casualty.
The ICC official also didn’t rule out rescheduling of games if needed.
“We’ll be asking teams to show maximum flexibility and we’ll be as flexible as possible if the need arises to fulfil our objective, which is to get the games on,” he said.
The tournament begins on March 4 with the opening match between hosts New Zealand and West Indies in Mount Maunganui.