DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC) — Early indications are that next year’s champions of the Cricket West Indies Women’s Twenty20 Blaze are likely to be the Caribbean’s representative at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s world governing body, announced yesterday the qualification process for women’s cricket, which makes a historic appearance at the Games, scheduled from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England.
The qualification process gives hosts England an automatic spot, while the six other highest-ranked ICC full members in the ICC Women’s Twenty20 International team rankings on April 1 next year will also directly qualify for the eight-team tournament.
The remaining place will be allocated to the winner of a Commonwealth Games qualifier, the format and details of which will be announced at a later date. The deadline for the qualifier to be completed by January 31, 2022.
The ICC said since players from the Caribbean will be representing their individual countries and not the West Indies [as they are affiliated with the ICC)], the winner of a designated qualifying tournament will decide which country gets to represent the West Indies, if they get a slot.
The ICC said that having women’s cricket being a part of the Games for the first time, it’s a huge opportunity to turbo-charge the growth of the sport and take it to new fans.
“Cricket at the Commonwealth Games is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to grow the women’s game globally,” ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said.
“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.
“I thank the CGF for their support and for making this possible. We share with them the vision of greater equality, fairness and opportunity in sport and I am sure Birmingham 2022 will go a long way towards us achieving our common objectives.”
This will be the second time that cricket will feature in the Games, after a men’s competition was part of the Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados and Jamaica were the three Caribbean teams that played in that competition.
“We are absolutely delighted to have women’s T20 cricket debut at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” CGF President, Dame Louise Martin 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.”
She said: “Now it’s 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.
“Birmingham 2022 will be a fantastic showcase for the women’s game and the unveiling of the qualification criteria is an exciting and important milestone as we head towards what will be a spectacular competition at the iconic Edgbaston Stadium.”