Last week, in the world of women’s cricket, a couple of news surfaced which did not make the players as well as the fans happy. First, the inaugural ICC Women’s U-19 World Cup was postponed from sometime at the end of this year to January 2023 and second, the global qualifier for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 has been pushed from June July this year to December 2021.
As per the reports, the decisions were made due to the impact of COVID-19, which has not allowed the teams to properly prepare for a global event. In addition to this, there was also a financial angle involved.
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To allow teams the best possible preparation, the global qualifier for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 has been postponed and will now be held in December 2021.#GlobalQualifiers pic.twitter.com/0AywzizGuz
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) April 1, 2021
When the men’s cricket is slowly and steadily picking up pace, it is quite strange that women’s cricket is yet to gather any momentum. The news of the postponement of the two big ICC events has sent a wave of disappointment to players as well as the fans. While the Men’s U-19 World Cup has already seen 13 editions being played with the first one taking place in 1988 and the next 12 from 1998 biennially, the women’s U-19 World Cup is yet to hit the ground. The tournament which was supposed to be held in Bangladesh in December this year with 16 teams participating in the mega event was looked upon with much anticipation and excitement however it has been put on the back burner till January 2023.
While efforts are being made to promote women’s cricket and bring it on par with the men’s game, such incidents of postponement of a reputed competition like a World Cup will not serve the purpose. Young girls across the world who are doing well in their respective domestic circuits were certainly looking ahead to make the cut into their national sides for the World Cup this year but their dreams have unfortunately been shattered as there will be no World Cup for them for the next couple of years.
Apart from the junior girls, the senior women players are also bearing the brunt of postponement. Though the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in Sri Lanka is happening this year itself, it has been pushed from June-July this year to December, which means that there is a gap of just three months between the Qualifiers and the ICC Women’s World Cup which will be played in New Zealand in March-April 2022. If the Qualifiers would have been held as per schedule it would have given the qualifying teams a breathing period of nine months, which is good enough for preparations. There is no doubt that the 10 participating teams in the Qualifiers will not be happy with the decision. These teams will have to rejig their schedules and training in such a way that they prepare for the Qualifiers as well as the World Cup.
There is seldom any doubt that the postponement of the two tournaments will do no good to women’s cricket at large. The frequent changes in the women’s cricket schedules by the ICC is not helping but rather harming women’s cricket, which is still finding its feet, despite being around for over half a century.
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.