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ICC CEO David Richardson Exclusive Interview: India Could be a Trailblazer for Women's Cricket

Arjit Dabas | | Updated: July 31, 2017, 2:50 PM IST
ICC CEO David Richardson Exclusive Interview: India Could be a Trailblazer for Women's Cricket

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Dubai: The 2017 ICC Women's World Cup has ensured that women's cricket is taken seriously from here on as it played a key role in spreading the message of the sport to a global audience.

One of the key reasons behind the success of the tournament was the International Cricket Council's decision to promote the event as a stand alone entity and the firebrand cricket played by the participating women, according to ICC's Chief Executive Officer Dave Richardson during an exclusive interview with CricketNext.

"ICC events, like the Women’s World Cup provide a platform for players to step up and inspire a generation and we have certainly seen that this summer. Players like Raj, Knight, Beamont, Lanning and van Niekerk are now household names and role models for young children around the world," Richardson said over mail.

The World Cup reached a worldwide audience of more than 50 million people and Richardson said that the decision to broadcast all 31 games gave fans all around the globe an opportunity to watch and that was a game changer.

Not only this, the other numbers too showed that the World Cup was a roaring success. There was 80% more viewership as compared to the 2013 edition, 47% increase in Indian audience and almost 300% increase in the Australian audience as compared to the previous edition. The ICC video content had almost 75 million views.

"I think it (World Cup) has had and will continue to have a significant impact on the women’s game. Because we invested into televising all 31 games it means more people than ever before have had the opportunity to watch the women’s game and become fans. We now have players who have become household names and they can inspire the next generation of players and fans. We need to work with our Members to ensure we’re captialising on the success."

"Like any ICC event the planning process was thorough but for this event we also focused on how we made it a ‘game changer’ and the key decision there was to broadcast all 31 games for the first time ever giving cricket fans around the world the opportunity to watch the event," the former South Africa glovesman said.

Another key moment in the tournament was India's march to the knock-outs and their subsequent entry into the summit clash, which made the final at Lord's a sold out event. With women's cricket grabbing many eye balls in India, Richardson believed the 'Women in Blue' could be a driving force for the sport.

"All Members have a huge role to play in the growth of the women’s game and of course India can be the trailblazers for this. The reception their team has received both throughout the event and since their return has been phenomenal, they are heroes and we must captialise on that," he said.

In the days to come the ICC wishes to promote the women's game further and one key element in that would be promoting the showpiece events with the same force and vigour as the 2017 World Cup was done.

"The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 was a stand alone event being held after the Champions Trophy. In 2018 the ICC Women’s World T20 event was always scheduled to be a stand-alone and earlier this year the ICC Board took a conscious decision to separate the two events in 2020 in Australia. This is because we strongly felt that the women’s event can stand alone and flourish in what is a mature market and enable the game to grow further being in its own spotlight with prime-time games."

"We continue to focus on delivering our strategy for growth of the game and that includes women’s cricket. Over the last couple of years we have invested in the ICC Women’s Championship giving members more opportunities to play each other and the second edition of this gets underway in October. This summer’s World Cup set the standard and we will look to continue building on that in the future," Richardson signed off.
First Published: July 31, 2017, 12:57 PM IST

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