With only a handful of cricketing powerhouses, the sport still has miles to cover to be at par with the likes of football, tennis and a few other truly global sports.
Cricket at the global multi-sporting events has also been a very rare sight but this time around, intensifying its attempt to raise its reach and popularity among global audiences, cricket will be featured in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
After a wait of almost two and a half decades, cricket is all set to return to the Games with a women’s T20 competition.
A warm send off for #TeamIndia as they left for Birmingham this morning from Bengaluru. 👋👋💪 #Birmingham2022 https://t.co/Z6tcR3jcDf
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) 1658663164000
The International Cricket Council (ICC), the administrator of the lucrative sport, has been pressing hard for the sport’s inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and the Birmingham Games are being considered as the perfect launchpad for the reintroduction of the game to the world audience.
With the women’s competition all set to get its first-ever feel of the multi-sporting event, TimesofIndia.com here gives you all you need to know about cricket @ CWG:
In the last three decades or so, cricket has had an astronomical rise. An overabundance of cash flow, cricketers enjoying demi-god status and fans going berserk for their cricketing idols on the field as well as off it have been the norm.
But this craze has been restricted to a select territory. Barring a handful of nations, cricket is still somewhat at a nascent stage around the world and one of the reasons for this has been its limited outreach in the past. A failure to be among the multi-sporting events has also restricted cricket from reaching its true potential.
India’s beloved sport has been part of the Olympics only once, way back in 1900, with only Great Britain and France participating. At the Commonwealth Games too, it has had a run just once.
#TeamIndia captain @ImHarmanpreet speaks about the excitement to play in the @birminghamcg22 Commonwealth Games 👍… https://t.co/cBZIcc9PZJ
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) 1658579849000
In the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games, the men’s tournament was staged where 16 nations including India participated. The 50-over format tournament was given List A status and the South African team grabbed the gold in it, defeating Australia (silver medallists) by 4 wickets in the final. New Zealand finished with the bronze in the competition. India didn’t make the semi-final cut.
Now, finally after 24 years, cricket has found its way back to the Commonwealth Games and its reintroduction to the multi-sporting event has come at the country of its birth.
With men’s cricket having a completely jam-packed international and leagues roster, cricket’s comeback at the Games will be with a women’s T20 competition and a roaring success is being widely anticipated.
FORMAT & SCHEDULE
Women’s cricket will be making its debut at the CWG this time and it will be in the game’s most lucrative and eye-catching format — T20s.
8 teams will feature in the competition with a total of 16 matches to be played — all at Edgbaston in Birmingham. The India vs Australia encounter will kick off the proceedings on July 29th while the high-octane India-Pakistan clash will set the Games on fire on July 31.
💬 💬 We are aiming for Gold Medal at the Commonwealth Games: #TeamIndia vice-captain @mandhana_smriti. 👍 👍#B2022 https://t.co/7Tsovu3Y12
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) 1658471908000
The Indian team at CWG 2022 is being captained by Harmanpreet Kaur, with Smriti Mandhana serving as her deputy. In their last T20I series, India beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka 2-1 in a 3 match series.
India full squad for CWG 2022:
Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, S Meghana, Taniyaa Sapna Bhatia (Wk), Yastika Bhatia (Wk), Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana.
Groups and matches
The teams have been divided into 2 groups with Australia, Barbados, India and Pakistan forming Group A.
England, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka make up Group B.
The top 2 sides from each group will qualify for the semis with both the knock-out matches taking place on August 6. The teams finishing at the top in their groups will take on the second-place finishers in the opposite group in the semi-final.
The finale will be held on August 7 along with the bronze medal match which will be between the two losing teams of the semis.
Harmanpreet Kaur (Photo by Peter Meecham/Getty Images)
Group A matches
29 July – Australia vs India
29 July – Pakistan vs Barbados
31 July – India vs Pakistan
31 July – Barbados vs Australia
3 August – Australia vs Pakistan
3 August – India vs Barbados
Group B matches
30 July – New Zealand vs South Africa
30 July – England vs Sri Lanka
2 August – England vs South Africa
2 August – Sri Lanka vs New Zealand
4 August – South Africa vs Sri Lanka
4 August – England vs New Zealand
6 August – 1st Semifinal
6 August – 2nd Semifinal
7 August – Bronze medal match
7 August – Final – Gold medal match
THE CURIOUS CASE OF TEAM BARBADOS
‘West Indies’ are made up of a group of island nations and in international cricket they come together to form a West Indies ‘team’. But in the Commonwealth Games, these nations compete separately.
One team from the Caribbean for the Games this time was to be decided via the 2021 CWI T20 Blaze tournament. But due to COVID-19, that tournament was postponed and Barbados got a seat at the Games by virtue of winning the previous edition of the CWI T20 Blaze.
Meanwhile, England being hosts were automatic qualifiers while the next best five teams in the ICC women’s T20I rankings — Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan also got direct entry.
Sri Lanka women grabbed the final spot by winning the CWG Qualifier which was held in Malaysia, beating Bangladesh by 22 runs in the final. Lankan captain Chamari Athapaththu was named the player of the series, for being the top scorer with 221 runs.