2022 Commonwealth Games: ICC announces qualification process for Birmingham

Returning to the CWG fold in the women’s T20 format, cricket at Birmingham 2022 will be an eight-team affair. Six teams will qualify based on their ICC T20 rankings.

By Naveen Peter

A month after the 2022 Commonwealth Games organisers announced cricket as one of the first disciplines to kick-start the event, the International Cricket Council (ICC) laid out the qualifying procedure for the tournament. 

The women’s Twenty20 tournament, a medal event at Birmingham 2022 and played at the famed Edgbaston cricket ground, will be an eight-team affair. 

While hosts England get a direct entry into the competition, six of the remaining seven slots will be taken by the top six teams on the ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings as on April 1, 2021.

Meanwhile, the final spot will be reserved for the winner of the Commonwealth Games Qualifier, which is to be held before January 31, 2022. The format and the details of the Qualifier will be announced in the coming weeks. 

The teams participating in the qualifiers will include individual Caribbean islands, who compete as independent nations at the Commonwealth Games, unlike West Indies, as is the case in international cricket.

Cricket was last played in the 1998 edition of the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 50-over men’s team competition saw some of the cricketing heavyweights take centrestage back then. 

While champions South Africa had the likes of Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis, finalists Australia featured legends like Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and the Waugh brothers.

With the women’s game making its debut at the Birmingham Games, the ICC hopes to make full use of the platform to push women’s cricket further. 

“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,” ICC CEO Manu Sawhney said. 

Meanwhile, Indian women’s T20 cricket captain Harmanpreet Kaur was excited with the prospect of competing in a multi-discipline event. 

“The inclusion of cricket at the Commonwealth Games is huge for all players and the game in general,” Harmanpreet Kaur said. 

“Representing your country in a multi-discipline event is a different challenge and with it comes the responsibility of being emissaries of the game since it can get us new followers and fans. I hope to be there at the Games and wish that it is a great success.”

The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held from July 28 to August 8.