In a historic development, women’s cricket is confirmed to be a part of the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham in 2022 for the first time ever. It will also be only the second time that cricket will feature in the Commonwealth games, after the men’s game featured in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney called the development a fantastic opportunity to grow the game.
“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," Sawhney said in a statement released by the ICC.
“I thank the Commonwealth Games Federation 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."
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have women’s T20 cricket debut at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“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.
“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."
The tournament, from July 28 to August 8, will feature eight teams. Hosts England will take one spot while six other highest ranked ICC Members in the Women’s T20I Team Rankings as of 1 April 2021 will also qualify directly 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 in due course. The deadline for the Qualifier is 31 January 2022," the ICC confirmed.
“Since athletes from the Caribbean will be representing their 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 compete if the West Indies get a slot."
Harmanpreet Kaur, India captain:
“The inclusion of cricket at the Commonwealth Games is huge for all players and the game in general.
“Representing your country in a multi-discipline event is a different challenge and with it comes the responsibility of being emissaries of the game since it can get us new followers and fans.
“I hope to be there at the games and wish that it is a great success with some engrossing matches and high quality of cricket."
England captain Heather Knight: “It’s incredibly exciting that we’re going to be taking part in the Commonwealth Games on home soil. It’s an event I’ve often watched and I never really imagined I’d be taking part so it feels really special.
“It’s another fantastic opportunity for the game of cricket, with coverage live on the BBC, and the chance to reach the thousands of fans who like attending multi-discipline events.
“We can’t wait to be in Birmingham amongst all the other athletes, and we’re counting down towards 2022 – it’s going to be a huge year for us and for women’s cricket in general."
Australia captain Meg Lanning: “The women’s game has gone to another level over the past few years and its inclusion at the Commonwealth Games is a huge opportunity to take it further.
“The announcement of the schedule and qualifying process is an exciting milestone and one that will no doubt create plenty of excitement among players across the globe.
“Winning the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in front of a record crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was absolutely incredible but we’re now looking to the future with some amazing events and challenges on the horizon including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games."