Women’s cricket is all set to be a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and the ICC along with the Commonwealth Games Federation(CGF) has announced the qualification process for the same on Wednesday.
“Cricket at the Commonwealth Games is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to grow the women’s game globally. We are committed to accelerating this growth and maintaining the momentum we have created over the past few years, which most recently saw 86,174 fans packed into the MCG for the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020,” said ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney in a statement.
England get an automatic spot in the event as the hosts, while the other six spots will be occupied by the six highest ranked teams according to the ICC T20I rankings as on April 1, 2021. Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games 2022 from July 28-August 8.
The remaining eight spots will be decided after a Commonwealth Games qualifying tournament. The schedule and format of the tournament will be announced by ICC in the coming days, with January 31, 2022 as the deadline for the Qualifier.
Interestingly, if there is a scenario where the West Indies cricket team get a slot for the tournament, there will be another qualifying tournament for them. Athletes from the Caribbean will represent their own countries in the Commonwealth Games, while the West Indies cricket team is comprised of players from different countries of the Caribbean region.
President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Dame Louise Martin, in a statement said, “Cricket has always been one of the Commonwealth’s most popular sports and it is so special to have it back at our Games for the first time since the men’s competition at Kuala Lumpur 1998, where true greats of the game including Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Sachin Tendulkar were on show. Now is the turn of the women and I can’t wait to see the next generation of stars like Heather Knight, Harmanpreet Kaur and Meg Lanning take centre stage,”.
Earlier in 1998 Commonwealth Games, a men’s 50-over competition was a part of the event, with South Africa emerging as the winner after beating Australia in the finals.
“Birmingham 2022 will be a fantastic showcase for the women’s game and the unveiling of the qualification criteria today is an exciting and important milestone as we head towards what will be a spectacular competition at the iconic Edgbaston Stadium,” Martin further added.