Have you ever seen cricketers from over 30+ countries come together in a tournament? Have you ever seen young emerging talents from lesser-known cricketing nations rub shoulders with the stars from Test-playing nations? Well, if your answer to both questions were ‘No’, you need to know more about The FairBreak.
For the uninitiated, FairBreak Invitational T20 is a Women’s T20 competition sanctioned by the ICC run in cooperation with Cricket Hong Kong but is privately run by a company called FairBreak Global to push for gender equality in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The FairBreak Global is doing some phenomenal work, and this year will be no different. With inclusivity as a top priority, one can safely say that the tournament is growing and getting better with each edition. This year, the tournament will be held in both Hong Kong and USA, and we will witness six teams come together for the two events this year with the broadcast available internationally. The tournament that was originally scheduled to be held in March was shifted to April to be held in Hong Kong because of the inaugural Women’s Premier League that is slated to kickstart in India in March.
The most recent indicator of the rapid growth and development in women’s cricket over the last decade has been well-documented through this tournament. The inaugural FairBreak event, which featured players from over 35 countries, has the potential to be one of the sport’s most significant advancements. The FairBreak Invitational, which features some of the best women’s cricketers in the world as well as players from Germany, Brazil, and Bhutan, is part of a three-year agreement with Cricket Hong Kong, where it is hoped the 2023 and 2024 events will be held after COVID-19 restrictions forced last year’s tournament to be moved to the UAE. The tournament is indeed creating opportunities & allowing the players from lower-ranked teams to rub their shoulders with some of the legends of the game as we will witness 90 cricketers from over 30+ nations who will be participating in this year’s tournament, and that is not just commendable but also pushes for inclusivity making cricket truly ‘a global game’.
FairBreak’s point of distinction is not only the range of personalities on display; with 50 of the 90 players from various nations, with Geoff Lawson and Alex Blackwell actively mentoring, it is a wonderful opportunity for all stakeholders involved. The biggest attraction of the event, however, has always been the performance of players from Associate nations, who have more than held their own against the best in the world. The two-week event will feature twenty games, and interestingly, over thirty of these 90 players are currently competing in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa. Players from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Japan, Ireland, and Thailand have proven that they are here to stay and are proven matchwinners for their international teams as well across different bilateral and multination tournaments. A vital element of FairBreak is to demonstrate that the difference between Associates and the more established cricketing nations may not be as large, as some suspect.
The tournament’s philosophy is to promote equality and advance opportunities for women. To underline the relationship with some lesser-known cricketing nations, shirt numbers have been removed from the outfits of the eight teams, which are manufactured from recycled materials, which is simply fantastic. The FairBreak Invitational tournament is certainly more than just a collection of heartwarming and inspiring stories. It featured high-quality cricket, with associate nation cricketers playing an important role, making it a different tournament bridging the gap between the full member nations and the associate nations and something to look forward to for everyone, making it very different from tournaments like The Hundred, the WBBL and the recently launched WPL.
I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.