Following the success of the ICC Women’s World T20 in West Indies, ICC have now moved for the game and the format to be included at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Cricket has previously been part of the Games in 1998 when Kuala Lumpur hosted the Games and South Africa won the gold medal.
The bid has been made in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to see inclusion of “world’s fastest growing women’s team sports” become part of the Commonwealth Games family. As per reports, a presentation to the organising committee will be made next Monday. If the bid is accepted at this stage, the Commonwealth Games Federation will then make the final decision, to be ratified by September next year. As per the submission made, Edgbaston would be the primary venue for the eight-country competition, with grounds at Worcester, Derbyshire and Leicester under consideration to serve as the secondary host during the group stages.
Discussing the decision to bid for inclusion, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said, “Cricket and the Commonwealth are inextricably linked and almost perfectly aligned with 910 million of cricket’s one billion plus adult fans from Commonwealth countries. Creating a new partnership between women’s cricket and the Commonwealth Games demonstrates the commitment both organisations have to growing women’s sport and delivering greater equality, fairness and opportunity in sport across the Commonwealth.”
“Birmingham is the perfect place to launch this partnership as the city shares cricket’s rich and diverse culture and heritage. 23 per cent of the city’s residents have links to cricket playing nations outside the UK, the deep connection between cricket and Birmingham will bring people together and inspire future generations of players and fans of women’s cricket. If cricket were to be staged in these Games, we know every team competing would be guaranteed ‘home’ support. There’s a ready-made audience and ready-made infrastructure in the local vicinity. ”
“This partnership has the potential to go way beyond a sporting event that can be enjoyed by hundreds of millions of fans in Birmingham, the UK and the rest of the world. I believe the players who reflect the diversity of this audience will send a powerful message to young women in Birmingham and beyond about the potential that they can achieve through sport.”
“We would like cricket to lead the way in the Commonwealth in inspiring more young girls to take up sport regardless of their background or culture. There’s a saying that ‘you can’t be it if you can’t see it’ – imagine the impact of millions of young girls around the world watching women’s cricket in the Commonwealth Games and being empowered with the knowledge that they too can play cricket, represent their country and compete on a global stage.’”
Matches played at the 1998 Commonwealth Games were accorded the List A status rather than the full One Day International (ODI) status while being played in the 50 over format.
Sports that are also in the running for inclusion alongside women’s cricket are archery, shooting, para-table tennis and volleyball but there are no fixed number of spots – which means the organisers can include multiple sports that meets the criteria.