Bengaluru: The MCC World Cricket Committee, which comprises spin great Shane Warne, has unanimously backed the inclusion of women’s T20 competition in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The next edition of the Games will be held in Birmingham and organisers are to announce this year whether cricket will get a place for the first time since 1998.
Warne attended his first Marylebone Cricket Club World Cricket committee meeting after being elected to the committee last year.
“It’s a hugely exciting time for women’s cricket after two great World Cups in two years and it’s up to the cricket world and Commonwealth Games Federation to build on that momentum and bring cricket into multi-sport games," the Australian legend said in Bengaluru.
“What’s more, including women’s T20 in the Commonwealth Games will demonstrate that the sport of cricket is inclusive, dynamic and with plenty of opportunities for growth," Warne added.
Former New Zealand women’s captain Suzie Bates, who has been a member of the committee since 2017, said, “Having Women’s T20 at Birmingham 2022 would be a game-changer."
“Multi-sport events like the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics attract and inspire a different audience, so it’s an enormous opportunity for women’s cricket to win new fans, as well as being a chance for the Commonwealth Games to build on one of their core values - equality - and create more opportunities for female athletes."
The bid for inclusion was a joint submission from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and International Cricket Council (ICC), whose Chief Executive David Richardson is also attending the two-day meeting in Bengaluru.
MCC World Cricket committee chairman Mike Gatting said, “I’m proud our committee members are so firmly behind the inclusion of women’s T20 at the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022."
“The competition will primarily be held at Edgbaston, a superb venue firmly linked to cricket and Birmingham’s sporting heritage. It will be significant for the sport in the Commonwealth and raising the profile of an exciting format cricket around the world."
There was a positive update from committee members on the increased priority being placed on women’s cricket globally.
FICA, the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, recently revealed 81% of women player respondents and 67% of men believe cricket should be in the Olympics, and women’s T20 inclusion in the Commonwealth Games may be the first step on the path to Olympic inclusion.
The MCC is cricket’s formal law-making body and its world committee of former players meets twice a year to discuss key issues facing the game.
Cricket was last included in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 when South Africa beat Australia in the men’s 50-over final in Kuala Lumpur.