After a long wait of 24 years, Cricket will be back in the Commonwealth Games that is going to be held in Birmingham, England. It will be cricket's presence in the Commonwealth Games since a List A men's tournament that was held at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The format is going to be T20 and this time, we will only have a women's tournament.
Let's dig deep into the details.
It all began in November 2018 when ICC and the England Cricket Board made a joint bid to incorporate cricket in the Commonwealth Games. Then in August 2019, the Commonwealth Games Federation announced that the bid had succeeded after a vote of all 71 Commonwealth Games Associations with women's cricket being added to the 2022 program along with some other sports like beach volleyball and para table tennis.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), being the custodian of the Laws of Cricket, agreed to the move and hoped it would eventually lead to cricket's inclusion in the 2028 Summer Olympics.
In April 2021 when ICC announced that the format will be T20 in the Commonwealth Games. Then in June, the fixture dates were released.
The Commonwealth Games are set to begin from July 27 and will run up to August 8. Now let's have a look at the qualification process.
It was announced in 2020 by the ICC that the six highest-ranked sides as of April 1 2021 would qualify directly. England were qualified irrespective of their ranking as they are the hosts. The direct qualification also depended on the representation of at least four out of the six Commonwealth Games Federation regions namely Asia, Africa, America, Caribbean, Europe, and Oceania.
If at least four teams out of the top seven don't make it then the teams ranked 8th to 10th will be considered to meet the criteria.
Now because West Indies qualified as a direct qualifier, the results of a separate tournament were originally going to use to determine which Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) earned qualification.
The tournament was scheduled to be contested between Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and two composite teams representing the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands.
However, August 2021 saw Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed that the regional qualifier had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This then led to Barbados being elected to represent West Indies as they were the defending champions of the TwentyT20 Blaze.
Only one spot is left to be filled and thus, the Commonwealth Games qualifier is scheduled to take place in Malaysia from January 18.
As things stand, England are in because they are the hosts, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan qualified due to their ICC rankings, while Barbados qualified due to the reasons mentioned above.
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There will be two semi-finals followed by a Bronze medal and a Gold Medal match. The teams that will contest in the Qualifiers are Bangladesh, Scotland, Malaysia, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.
The qualifiers begin on January 18 and will continue until January 24. Stay tuned with Cricwizz for more updates.