Ahead of the possible inclusion of cricket in the 2028 Olympics, scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, the women’s game got a shot in the arm with the inclusion of cricket in the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games, to be hosted by Birmingham, United Kingdom. This is the first time since 1998 that cricket will be a part of the Commonwealth Games, albeit only as a women’s sport.
When the sport was last included during the Kuala Lumpur games in 1998, it was a men’s event and South Africa clinched the gold medal, beating Australia in the final. While the games in Kuala Lumpur were played in the 50-over format, Birmingham will see eight teams participating in the Twenty20 format of the game. The 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games will run between 27th July, 2022 to 7th August and all the matches will be played at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, the home of Warwickshire Cricket club.
“Today is an historic day and we are delighted to welcome the sport of cricket back to the Commonwealth Games,” said Commonwealth Games Foundation (CGF) President Dame Louise Martin DBE. “Cricket was last played in the Games at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 when the men’s 50-overs-a-side competition was won by South Africa and featured icons of the sport including Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar.
“We believe the Commonwealth Games will be a fantastic platform to showcase the exciting sport of Women’s T20 Cricket and continue to help grow the game globally. We would like to thank the International Cricket Council for their hard work and efforts to ensure that the sport is in the Games in Birmingham as we believe it will contribute to a spectacular and vibrant multi-sport event. Cricket is truly a Commonwealth sport and we hope Birmingham 2022 will be the start of a long and successful partnership between Women’s Cricket and the Games,” he added.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) welcomed the inclusion and hoped that it would play a role in strengthening women’s cricket. “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 Manu Sawhney, Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council. “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,” he added.
Tom Harrison, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), welcomed the development and said that the move was an indication of cricket’s popularity across the globe. “We are delighted that Women’s T20 Cricket will be part of Birmingham 2022, an event that represents the biggest female and para sport programme in Commonwealth Games history. Today’s landmark announcement is another indication of the extremely bright future for women’s cricket, ” Harrison said.
“Cricket’s inclusion in an event with such a large global reach aligns perfectly with our plan to enable more women and girls to be inspired to get involved in cricket. We would like to thank the teams at Birmingham 2022, the Commonwealth Games Foundation and the International Cricket Council for their support in sharing this vision for one of the world’s biggest team sports,” he added.