Women's game strikes gold with Comm Games berth
There's a new medal for Australia's cricketers to aim for after confirmation that the 2022 Commonwealth Games would include a T20 tournament
14 August 2019, 10:17 AM AEST
Australia's women will have the chance to add a new type of medal to their ever-growing collections, with cricket set to feature in the next Commonwealth Games to be held in the UK in three years' time.
After flagging its intention earlier this year, the Commonwealth Games Federation yesterday confirmed that a women's T20 tournament will be included in the program for Birmingham 2022.
Eight international teams will compete across eight match days, with all matches to be played at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.
Cricket has featured just once before in the quadrennial event, with a men's 50-over tournament played as part of the Kuala Lumper Games in 1998. Australia took home silver after losing the final to South Africa.
The announcement comes at a time when women's cricket is gaining in popularity and professionalism around the world.
Belinda Clark, World Cup-winning captain and Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager of Community Cricket says inclusion in the upcoming Comm Games is a yet another positive for the women's game.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the game's talented female athletes to showcase their skills on the world stage," Clark said.
"Already this year we have seen a sell-out crowd for the Women's Big Bash League Final and strong television ratings across the WBBL followed by great crowds and live coverage of the Ashes in England."
Australia's women are in the midst of their busiest ever period.
Having recently won the Women's Ashes trophy in England, Meg Lanning's team are now preparing for a tour of the West Indies before a jam-packed home summer than includes a standalone Rebel WBBL, a home series against Sri Lanka as well as a home T20 tri-series alongside England and India.
Australia will then defend its title as T20 World Champions on home soil in 2020, with the final of the ICC T20 World Cup to be played at the MCG on International Women's Day on March 8.
"This is an exciting time for the sport and the impact on the next generation is obvious, with girls making up six out of 10 new participants in Australia," Clark said.
"The exposure will become even greater when Australia hosts the Women's Twenty20 World Cup early next year."
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place in England from July 27 to August 7 2022 and will see 4,500 athletes competing at across 18 sports.
Cricket is one of three new events added to the next edition of the Games, alongside beach volleyball and para table tennis, boosting the total number of medal events for women at the Games to 135 – two more than men, a first for a major multi-sport event.
The International Cricket Council said in a statement the sport's return to the Games was "a truly historic moment for women's cricket and for the global cricket community".
"This is a truly historic moment for women's cricket and for the global cricket community, who were united in their support of this bid," said ICC CEO Manu Sawhney. "Women's cricket continues to go from strength to strength, and we are delighted and honoured the Commonwealth Games Associations voted to include Women's T20 cricket at Birmingham 2022.
"Fast and exciting, the T20 format is the perfect fit for the Commonwealth Games and offers another chance to showcase women's cricket on the global stage as part of our ambitious plans to accelerate the growth of the game, whilst inspiring the next generation of cricketers. All the players who are lucky enough to compete at Birmingham 2022 will be part of a truly memorable experience."