The ICC Women’s World T20, now in its sixth edition, is set to kick off its training wheels and race ahead.
The 2018 edition of the tournament in the West Indies is the first one that will be held as a standalone event, not under the shadow of the corresponding men’s competition.
Following the success of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, which saw a sold-out final at Lord’s and record television audiences, and ahead of the stated ambition of filling up the MCG for the final of the World T20 2020 in Australia, the tournament starting in the Caribbean on 9 November will be another marker of where the women’s game is at.
Participating teams have hailed the move to make it an independent event, agreeing that the time was right for the break.
“It’s due and it’s well-deserved,” said Dane van Niekerk, the South Africa captain, on Friday, 2 November, ahead of the team’s warm-up games. Women’s cricket, she said, “deserves the ‘alone’ time!”
“The way [the game] has grown, it's been so fast, you have to pinch yourself to see how quickly it’s grown. And the entertainment factor is there now – bigger hits, quicker bowlers, athletic players – it's a lot more exciting.
These two Windies greats popped by Coolidge Cricket Ground today!— ICC World Twenty20 (@WorldT20) November 2, 2018
Privileged to have two legends of the game in Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Andy Roberts on board as #WT20 ambassadors! pic.twitter.com/1RiuGzHzch
“I think it’s well-deserved for women's cricket at the moment and hopefully we can do justice to the tournament.”
Javeria Khan, the Pakistan captain, said it would allow the sport to fully thrive under undiluted attention.
“It had to be done,” she said. “Because when there are men's matches, then the focus is kind of on the men’s matches.
“But now, as a women’s tournament, [ICC] will give it full support, full priorities, full importance – like for the rules, the DRS system (which is being introduced for the first time for all matches of the tournament), everything.”
Hailing the role of the ICC, she added, “They are doing some really good work … In the past, women’s cricket was not given much importance, not much priorities, and this is why girls were not opting for cricket. So because of ICC’s this step (of having a standalone tournament) more girls will come forward, they have a future in women's cricket.”