Cricket: Icon Sir Richard Hadlee confident of disruption-free Women's Cricket World Cup in NZ

With 100 days until the Women's Cricket World Cup - hosted in New Zealand - starts, Sir Richard Hadlee is confident the tournament can and will go off without a hitch, despite the threat of COVID-19.

Beginning from March 2022, the Women's Cricket World Cup will be played entirely in New Zealand for the first time since 2000, with matches to be played at Auckland, Christchurch, Mount Maunganui, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin.

The White Ferns will open the tournament at Christchurch on March 4 against tournament qualifiers.

Our women have won the World Cup once - coincidentally that same 2000 home tournament - as the only NZ team to win a Cricket World Cup title.

The tournament was originally scheduled for March 2021 and postponed a year due to COVID-19, so the pandemic's continued presence still has organisers nervous, as New Zealand battles the virus' delta variant.

Even with that looming worry, Sir Richard is confident of a successful tournament - on and off the field.

"I think we're in for a wonderful World Cup, a great spectacle," Sir Richard tells The AM Show.

"These women are highly skilled cricketers and athletes. It's going to be a real showcase of good cricket.

"All the planning is going ahead as though it's going to happen. I'm sure if there are any hiccups, the organising team will adapt accordingly.

"That's out of my control, but I'm just waiting for it to happen, as in the tournament starting." 

Sir Richard also thinks the World Cup will be of a high standard, due to the continuing improvement of women's cricket, as more players ply their trade in professional leagues around the world.

All that's left is for the public to support a Cricket World Cup on home soil, as it did during the 2015 men's tournament in New Zealand.

"I think people will get in behind them. There's enough women's cricket shown on television - in fact, I watch a lot of the Women's Big Bash out of Australia.

"The skillsets, the fitness, the way the girls play is absolutely outstanding. In their own way, they are worth watching.

"I'd like to encourage the youngsters, the boys, the girls, the mums and dads and others to come along to all the venues around the country - I think there's five or six cities hosting various games.

"Come along, just see for yourself what the women can do. They can hold their own, there's no question about that."

But despite home advantage, the White Ferns will enter the tournament as outsiders. The NZ women have had far from the ideal build-up, losing both their recent Twenty20 International and one-day series away to England.

While he pinpoints Australia and England as the favourites to lift the World Cup next April, Sir Richard insists another White Ferns victory isn't beyond the realms of possibility.

"I think the New Zealand girls - the White Ferns - to be competitive, they have to do a lot more than what they have done.

"Assuming they have a full squad - their superstar players and there's 3-4 world class players in the White Ferns team - we can be competitive, but it needs very good supporting roles from the other members of the team and the depth of the squad is important in case of injuries.

"Can they win it? They've got to believe that they can.

"Will they win it? There's a lot of obstacles they've got to overcome."