ICC, organisers welcome women’s cricket to Commonwealth Games
BIRMINGHAM – World cricket’s governing body, the ICC, and organisers of the Commonwealth Games 2022 Birmingham, hailed the presence of a women’s Twenty20 tournament at the multi-sport event set for July 28 to August 8 next year.
Eight teams will contest the tournament. They are hosts England, as well as Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and a nation from the Caribbean, which is likely to be Barbados, if there is no West Indies Women’s Championship this year.
Both ICC acting chief executive officer, Geoff Allardice, and Commonwealth Games Federation president, Dame Louise Martin, welcomed the addition of women’s cricket to the roster of sports featuring in the Games.
It will be the second time cricket has been a part of the Games, after a men’s ODI competition featured 24 years ago in Kuala Lumpur, where South Africa, under the leadership of Shaun Pollock, came away with the title.
“We are incredibly proud and excited to be part of Birmingham 2022, and it is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to grow the women’s game globally,” Allardice said.
“We are committed to maintaining the momentum that saw 86,174 fans packed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup last year and Birmingham 2022 gives us another global stage on which to showcase the women’s game.
“On behalf of the ICC and its Members, I thank the Commonwealth Games Federation for their support and look forward to seeing some superb cricket at Edgbaston.”
The matches will take place at the renowned Edgbaston and tickets are set to go on sale later this year.
“It is an exciting milestone to be announcing the first teams to qualify for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Dame Louise said.
“Cricket is a sport that is synonymous with the Commonwealth and we are so excited to have it back in the Games for the first time since the men’s competition at Kuala Lumpur 1998.
She said: “The debut of women’s T20 cricket will be an historic moment for Commonwealth Sport and a wonderful showcase for women’s sport across the world.
“Congratulations to the teams that have now booked their spot to compete at the iconic Edgbaston Stadium for what I am certain will be an unforgettable tournament.”
Cricket is the first discipline to announce qualifying teams for the Games with the eight teams securing qualification as a result of their standings in the ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings on April 1.
West Indies also secured a berth because of their ranking, but the format of the Games only recognises individual countries.
The winner of a designated qualifying event organised by Cricket West Indies is to be used to determine which country from the Caribbean gets to participate.
But the current COVID-19 crisis around the Caribbean may prevent the regional governing body from staging such a tournament.
With Barbados Women being the double-crown champions of the previous Windies Women’s Championship two years ago in Guyana, they are well positioned to take that place.
Organisers said around 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories are expected to attend the Games, which will be the first major multi-sport event to award more medals to women than men. (AR)