Ireland Women's head coach Ed Joyce insists it was not the way they wanted to qualify for the ICC Women’s Championship but the squad can look forward to an exciting three-year cycle.

The abandonment of the World Cup qualifiers at the weekend, due to Zimbabwe being placed on most countries’ red list due to the new Omicron variant, was followed by the ICC’s announcement that the three remaining World Cup places and the final two World Championship slots would be based on the World ODI rankings.

With Ireland starting the tournament in 10th place that confirmed their participation in the expanded 10-team World Championship to be played over the next three years – and with each team playing the others in three-match series that guarantees the Women 27 ODIs in the cycle – as many as they have played in the last 10 years.

“It was certainly not the qualifiers we expected,” said Joyce, “I felt the team was on the verge of something special and our goal was, of course, World Cup qualification.”

“We have an exciting future in front of us though and nobody should begrudge Irish women’s cricket this opportunity, given the team’s rich history over the last few decades.

“We’d certainly have preferred to qualify for the World Cup or Championship based on results in the tournament and I feel for all the teams that didn’t get to show off their skills.”

The rankings decision left Thailand, who do not have an ODI ranking, out in the cold despite winning all three games at the World Cup qualifiers. They also knocked Ireland out of the qualifying tournament for the last T20 World Cup and have won the last three games between the teams.

Joyce has sympathy for the Asians and feels there is a simple solution.

“I think ICC should invite all the teams who reached this stage (Super Sixes) into the next cycle. It would be fair and can’t see it would make a massive difference to schedules.”

The squad meanwhile made it Oman yesterday on the latest leg of their protracted journey home, having flown out of Zimbabwe on Sunday to Namibia.

The ICC is organising flights and it is expected they will be able to fly back to Dublin today, where the three Northern Ireland squad members, Cara Murray, Amy Hunter and team manager Beth Healy must spend 10 days in a Dublin hotel before they can return home.