In August last year, it was reported that the ICC had paired up with the Commonwealth Games to allow women’s cricket to participate in the 2022 Birmingham Games.
This is a massive step for the women’s game to finally get the viewership and recognition it deserves outside of the traditional World Cup.
How it will work is that the eight highest ranked T20 nations leading up to the Games will compete. The fact that there are no official qualifiers for this event will cause the international fixtures within a year or two of the Games to have even more emphasis on them, opposed to just winning that particular series or one-off match.
Contrasting to the men, the women’s international schedule isn’t as jam-packed and therefore requires little to no rescheduling of matches. Also, five of the top six leaders in the overall medal tally from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 were Australia, England, India, New Zealand and South Africa. This proves that cricket will definitely fit in and almost certainly get a large audience at the Commonwealth Games.
What makes this change even more interesting is that this will be the first time since 1998 in Kuala Lumpur that either men’s or women’s cricket will be included in an inter-sport event of this proportion. This could be a sign that the ICC is finally trying to widen its global audience.
To support this even further, also in August 2019, former England player and current MCC World Cricket chairman Mike Gatting stated: “We were talking with Manu Sawhney, the ICC chief executive, and he was very hopeful we can get cricket into the 2028 Olympics”.
The fact that the MCC and the ICC even expressed interest for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics proves that they are finally recognising and trying to engage audiences from all around the world that have been ignored since the ICC began in 1909.
As a whole, at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, all the cricket matches will be held at the historic cricket ground of Edgbaston. The T20 competition will last for just eight days, and alongside para table tennis and beach volleyball, will be the newest addition to the competition.
Who knows, hopefully one day we’ll be watching Annabel Sutherland win a gold medal at the Olympics.