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Commonwealth Games include Women's Cricket for the 2022 edition for the first time ever

ICC and Commonwealth games federation have confirmed the news saying it's a historic step and will further help in growth of Women's cricket.

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Women's Cricket will debut at the Commonwealth games in Birmingham in 2022, ICC/Twitter
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The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Wednesday that Women's Cricket will be part of the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022, scheduled from 28 July to 8 August. Apart from the announcement, the ICC and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) also laid out the qualification process for the 8-team event.

In what is being seen as a historic move for the game and especially for the Women's cricket, CGF President, Dame Louise Martin was excited with the prospect of Women's T20 cricket debuting at the Commonwealth games 
in a couple of years time.

"Birmingham 2022 will be a fantastic showcase for the women’s game and the unveiling of the qualification criteria today is an exciting and important milestone as we head towards what will be a spectacular competition at the iconic Edgbaston Stadium."

ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said, "Cricket at the Commonwealth Games is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to grow the women’s game globally. We are committed to accelerating this growth and maintaining the momentum we have created over the past few years, which most recently saw 86,174 fans packed into the MCG for the final of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020."

Sawhney also commended the CGF for their support and thanked them for making it possible mentioning that it is an important step to achieve a common objective.

Qualification process

The qualification process announced on Wednesday mean that the hosts England get a direct spot, while six other highest ranked teams in the ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings as of 1 April 2021 will also qualify directly
 for the eight-team tournament. 

The remaining one place will be allocated to the winner of a Commonwealth Games Qualifier, the details of which are still kept under the wraps. The deadline for the Qualifier is 31 January 2022. The tournament will take place at the iconic cricket ground in Edgbaston.

Talking about the process and mentioning the step as a watershed moment for women's cricket, ICC Women’s Cricket Manager, Holly Colvin said, "We have worked closely with the CGF and ICC Members over the last year to confirm the qualification process. It’s fantastic that we are supporting opportunities for a Caribbean island and Commonwealth countries ranked outside the top seven to have the chance to qualify for this momentous event." 

Since athletes from the Caribbean will be representing their respective countries and not the West Indies (as in Cricket), the winner of a designated qualifying tournament will decide which country gets to compete if the West Indies get a slot.

History of Cricket in Commonwealth Games

This maybe the first time for Women's cricket in the Commonwealth games, but it is not for the sport. 22 years ago, a 16-team men's tournament was played in Malaysia. The Shaun Pollock-led South Africa clinched the gold medal beating Steve Waugh's Australia in the final of the 1998 Commonwealth Games

It was a 50-over tournament with 16 teams divided into groups of four teams each, where the table toppers from each group qualified for the semi-finals. All the qualifying four teams won all their three games in the group stage. India sent a weakened team due to their clashes against Pakistan in the 1998 Sahara Cup in Pakistan and they bowed out of the tournament in the group stage itself, winning a lone game out of their three.

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