Cricket-Six Sri Lanka women players test positive for COVID-19 in Zimbabwe

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Six Sri Lanka women cricketers who took part in a World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe have tested positive for COVID-19, the Asian country's cricket board said on Sunday.

Cricket's governing body ICC abandoned the qualifiers in Zimbabwe on Saturday after discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, which prompted widespread travel curbs.

It was not known whether the Sri Lankan players' positive tests were for the new Omicron variant of the virus.

The ICC took its decision after Saturday's game between the West Indies and Sri Lanka was called off when a member of the Sri Lankan support staff tested positive for COVID-19.

"Steps will be taken to bring back the Sri Lanka women's team from Zimbabwe," the Sri Lankan cricket board (SLC) said.

The detection of the Omicron variant in South Africa has prompted some countries to tighten border controls and impose curbs on travel from several southern African countries, including Zimbabwe.

After the cancellation of the qualifiers, the ICC said that Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will progress to next year's World Cup in New Zealand by virtue of their rankings.

The three nations will join New Zealand, Australia, India, England and South Africa.

South African sport began to shut down on Friday as the travel bans forced rugby teams and golfers to scramble to try to leave the country.

(Reporting by Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo; Writing by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman)

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