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Women in spotlight with separate WT20

ICC and CA confirm elite female cricketers will have stage to themselves at World T20 tournament in Australia in 2020

The International Cricket Council has approved a bid by Cricket Australia to separate the men's and women's tournaments at the 2020 edition of the World Twenty20 tournament to be staged down under.

This year's edition in India saw the men's and women's tournaments run simultaneously with double-headers, including the April 3 finals in Kolkata both won by the West Indies – with victories over Australia (women) and England (men) respectively – taking place on the same day.

But such has been the success of Australia's domestic Women's Big Bash League Twenty20 competition that the ICC have agreed to Cricket Australia's request to stage the Women's World Twenty20 six months ahead of the corresponding men's edition.

After the global governing body's board met in Cape Town, an ICC statement said the decision to make the Women's World Twenty20 a separate event represented "a big step forward for the women's game in a market where there is a clear appetite for women's cricket given the success of the WBBL".

David Peever, the chairman of both Cricket Australia and the ICC's governance committee, added: "Women's cricket is undoubtedly gaining in popularity around the globe and we felt that by separating the two events we could accelerate that growth."

While there has been a view that double-headers help ensure existing cricket crowds get to see women's matches, the fact that such matches usually take place before men's games has led to concerns regarding fixtures taking place in front of rows of empty seats.

"Having the ICC Women's World Twenty20 as a stand-alone event means we can hold it in stadiums that we can fill, put on TV at prime-time and ensure it has the space to be promoted away from the shadow of the men's game,” Peever said.

"WBBL has taught us that there is an audience for women's cricket both live and on prime-time television and this decision means we have the opportunity to hold the biggest women’s sporting event ever held in Australia."

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said: "This tournament will feature around a hundred of the world's best female cricketers. As a pinnacle event in the global cricket calendar, we are confident that it will be the biggest women's sporting event ever seen in Australia.

 

"It will attract huge levels of interest and, as anticipation builds, we will integrate our event planning so as to further fuel our ambitious growth aspirations for the game.

 

"In particular, our goals to materially increase the number of girls and women playing cricket will remain front of mind."

 

Meg Lanning Steve Smith