A Women’s T20 International cricket tournament will be part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games and England have qualified (Yey, well done!)… as hosts!
All games will be held in Birmingham (Booo!) and there’ll only be a women’s competition, not men’s?! Still, it’s an opportunity for cricket to be screened on the BBC and pique the interest of young girls (And boys).
Because it’s the Commonwealth not the Olympics, Heather Knight’s England can compete as England, so as per usual in this sort of thing, it’s West Indies that complicate things. They’ll have an individual island competing (If they qualify) which presumably will strip some games of official, or at least international, status. There is no official status for women’s matches played at domestic level.
Hopefully the Commonwealth Games can go ahead but let’s be honest, we aren’t going to be in a position where people are attending sporting events huddled together as before.
I thought that it’d be interesting to take a look at the latest Twenty20 International rankings and see which teams have made an impact since T20I status was applied across the globe.
Obviously Test teams lead the way with the historically strong Associate nations next inline. I’ve touched upon Singapore’s progress before whilst the likes of Namibia and Canada are trying to make their presence felt in the global game once again.
In 22nd place sit Qatar. Ex-pats have made a crucial contribution to developing cricket in many countries but of course it’s always great to see national cricket teams have a strong local representation. Now Qatar’s population is a little unusual. It fluctuates based on season and there are actually few Qatari citizens. People from places such as traditional cricket strongholds Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh provide a healthy part of the country’s population. It’s no surprise then that they should provide a good foothold for Qatar and its cricket team.
The Arab nation have made an encouraging start to T20I life and are amongst the teams to have qualified for the 2019-21 ICC Cricket World Cup (50 over/List A) Challenge League.
Jersey, population less than 100,000 but with a history of being there or there abouts on the Associate circuit, sit 25th. Of course you would expect the very best players from the small island to make themselves available for England. The Channel Island side previously required special dispensation to name Jonty Jenner in their side after he made a substitute appearance in a Test match for England.
Italy, often on the fringes, lie in 27th with Saudi Arabia an unfamiliar cricketing name one place below.
Uganda, who have hinted at doing well in the past, are in 31st. That’s three places ahead of the shabbily run massive missed opportunity that is USA.
A number of teams are yet to win a game. They include China, who’ve lost all six matches that they’ve played while Gibraltar are winless in seven.
In the Women’s rankings, there’s a surprise name just outside the top ten. Thailand currently reside in a healthy 11th place. They’ve won 25 out of 39 T20Is and qualified for this year’s T20I World Cup (So maybe not such a surprise then!). Not unexpectedly they had a tough time in Australia but had it not been for rain, they would likely have given Pakistan a run for their money after posting 150 from 20 overs.
They appear to have a strong homegrown contingent with players recruited from a variety of sporting backgrounds. Their progress so far will hopefully inspire more Thai women to take up cricket.
Samoa are another ‘new’ name in 16th place. They’ve actually won 10 out 12 T20I matches played so far.
France sit in 30th and though the ship has probably sailed for my wife, I have high hopes that my daughters can push for selection in a few years time. That’s if they’re not playing for England of course!
The results are in and there’s not much to choose between opinions…
60% of voters feel that the option should be there for men and women to play on the same team at the highest level. 40% of voters are totally opposed to the concept. Some of you voiced ‘Spirit of cricket’ concerns and that’s understandable. Obviously cricket isn’t a contact sport but some statistics suggest that men average towards 10-20mph quicker than women when it comes to pace bowling. That’s a big step up but then so is transitioning from domestic to international level in either men’s or women’s cricket.
Tennis is probably the most direct comparison. Men and women share the court for mixed doubles matches where the gulf in speed between serves by different genders can be greater than cricket at around 30%. It’s a non-contact sport but is a tennis ball capable of killing someone? Sadly, we know all too well that a cricket ball is!
It’s easy to think about women potentially slotting into men’s sides but what about the reverse. If men are perceived to be a bit quicker and stronger what if they were to slot into primarily women’s teams? Should all teams be mixed then? Would there need to be an even split in the playing XI? Questions, Questions, Questions.
I think that the fundamental question and one that I’ve seen those in the women’s game ask is “Is it necessary? Why can’t the game for both genders simply stand on their own? More questions!
Personally I think that the option should be there but I don’t expect it to happen en masse anytime soon.
Disclaimer: Information sourced from the following article…
An hour before the official release of the team sheet for what would ultimately be a rained off match, Hobart Hurricanes wicketkeeper Emily Smith posted an Instagram video displaying her side’s playing XI. It’s unlikely that there was any sinister corruption related motive to this and only that Smith was killing time and boredom when drawing attention to her lowly position in the batting order.
In Ed Hawkins ‘Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy’ he alludes to a seemingly innocent conversation in the pool with Ian Bell that could ultimately have been perceived as the England batsman revealing information that could be abused by match-fixers. This highlights how careful players must be. Don’t under estimate how much money rides on Women’s Big Bash matches either!
Hurricanes’ Smith seems to have been naive rather than sinisterly motivated but the words of Cricket Australia when banning her…
“We have been working with Emily throughout the process and Emily now understands the mistake she made”.
… suggest that she’s struggled to grasp the severity of the situation. Why Smith had her phone on her at the time is another question given the current protocol. Team management should already have confiscated it. However, despite the excuses provided by some, let’s be clear that Smith is not a kid but 24-years-old and has been playing regularly at the top level of domestic women’s cricket for some time. She also can’t say that she wasn’t warned. Corruption education has been exhaustive. If it were a male non-Australian cricketer would the likes of Andrew Symonds be offering a defence?
Smith has received a year-long ban but nine months of that are suspended. She’ll miss the remainder of the Women’s Big Bash League and Women’s National League. Ultimately she can’t play any cricket, not even amateur cricket, for the remainder of the Australian summer.
What do you think? Is this ban the right amount? Should she have been let off or suffered an even more severe punishment?
It’s great to see Reece Topley back in action and amongst the wickets again. The England man is making a comeback with Susssex and the early signs are promising. Fingers crossed that he can stay fit.
It’s not so great to see England’s Women struggling horribly against Australia in all formats of the game. In particular Amy Jones’ game (A Test fifty aside) has regressed horribly with ducks becoming an all too familiar story once again.
Those Australians that didn’t make the cut for Australia Men’s Ashes party are now turning up up and down the country for various counties. Alex Carey is at Sussex whilst Peter Handscomb is the latest to sign up, in his case making Durham the third county that he’s represented.
Disclaimer: Yes this is a lazy version of an Extras post!
When I typed Ellyse Perry into Google to check her stats, I saw a comment suggesting that the Wahroonga native be considered one of Australia’s greatest ever sportspersons. Surely somebody’s already described her as Australia’s greatest ever female too. Forget Australia and female. How about Ellyse Perry is simply one of the world’s greatest sportspeople?!
This of course has brought into question the validity of the records being set and T20I statistics in general. I’ve heavily promoted my proposed structure of international cricket, one that would currently see a team such as Mali not hold full international status but have the right to earn it. Teams such as England would currently have full international status but could lose it. That’s meritocracy in sport (Hey Manchester City Women’s football team… meritocracy!).
As it stands, all international women’s teams have full status. I’m a big believer in being better for gaining experience. Mali will improve and I look forward to hearing about it. I’m not a fan of the idea of picking and choosing statistics. Cricket should be a global game and whilst this may have been a chastening experience for the Malians they will be better for it. International sport should be ruthless. That is how the best help the weaker sides improve and therefore create competition. Don’t get me started on critics of the USA Women’s football (Soccer!) team. for their celebrations against Thailand. Anybody who has a problem with that is not someone who should be allowed anywhere near competitive sport. Even if it’s the absolute doldrums of the village cricket circuit, I don’t ever want anybody taking it easy on me!