The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed it has officially submitted a bid for women’s cricket to be included in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022.
The efforts made in conjunction with the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) could now see cricket return to the Commonwealth stage for the first time since its only appearance to-date in 1998, when South Africa took the men’s title in Kuala Lumpur.
According to the ICC, the women’s game has become one of the world’s fastest growing female team sports in recent years. The Games in the UK, taking place in less than four years, would welcome the women’s game for the first time in its history.
The application for inclusion of women’s cricket for Birmingham 2020 is part of a global strategy for cricket to inspire and empower women and girls around the world and to drive greater levels of inclusivity and opportunity throughout the sport.
'It'll be another step for the game, showing how far it has come'— ICC (@ICC) 26 November 2018
More from the @WorldT20 stars on the possibility of women's cricket being held at @birminghamcg22!#Birmingham2022 pic.twitter.com/hMOZWApOe1
The ECB last week announced further plans to help develop the next generation of women’s cricketers, committing £1.2million towards a recruitment push for 2,000 South Asian female mentors in the sport.
Commenting on the potential for Commonwealth Games involvement, David Richardson, ICC chief executive 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.”
Richardson added: “Birmingham is the perfect place to launch this partnership as the city shares cricket’s rich and diverse culture and heritage. 23% 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.”
Heather Knight, captain of the England national team added: “At the moment there’s a small number of countries that play the game at the top level. Going to an event like that, taking women’s cricket would be massive for the game. It would make it a lot more global than it is right now and give a great opportunity for players to go out and show what they can do on that stage.”
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