Sri Lanka join Australia, Barbados, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan in the first major sports event in history to award more medals to women than men.
Cricket is the first discipline to announce its complete line-up for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth after Sri Lanka was confirmed as the eighth team in the women’s T20 tournament.
The announcement was made jointly by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) on Tuesday following Sri Lanka’s victory in the ICC Commonwealth Games Qualifier 2022 in Kuala Lumpur last week and the subsequent CGF ratification of Sri Lanka’s entry.
Australia, Barbados, England, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan have already qualified as women’s cricket makes its first entry into the Commonwealth Games. It will only be the second time that cricket features in the multi-discipline event after a men’s competition was part of the Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and is considered a massive opportunity to bring the game to new audiences.
Shaun Pollock-led South Africa had won the gold on that occasion, beating Steve Waugh’s Australia side by four wickets in the final. ICC Hall of Famers Sachin Tendulkar of India, Jacques Kallis of South Africa and Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka were among the many stars part of the Games then.
The league-cum-knockout tournament this time kicks off with a match between ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 finalists Australia and India on 29 July, with the bronze and gold medal matches scheduled for 7 August. Barbados and Pakistan are in Group A along with Australia and India while England, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka form Group B.
The ICC, CGF and Commonwealth Games Sri Lanka congratulated Sri Lanka for their qualification and looked forward to an exciting tournament.
ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said: “It’s good to have finalised the identity of the teams participating in the Commonwealth Games and congratulations to Sri Lanka for making it after playing so well in the qualifier. We will have eight of the best teams competing for the gold and I am sure we will get to watch a highly competitive tournament.
“The Commonwealth Games are an important part of the women’s cricket calendar over the next year. It is a huge opportunity for us to take cricket beyond the traditional strongholds and give more people around the world the chance to enjoy the game, whilst the players are very much looking forward to being part of a multi-sport games.
“I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the Commonwealth Games Federation for their support and hope to see some top-quality cricket at Edgbaston.”
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: “Congratulations to the eight outstanding teams who have qualified for the women’s T20 cricket tournament at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“I must pay particular tribute to Sri Lanka, who secured the eighth and final spot by winning such an exciting qualifying tournament in Malaysia last week.”
“They will head to the iconic Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham with an elite lineup featuring England, Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Barbados and New Zealand.
“Cricket is a sport synonymous with the Commonwealth. We are so excited to have it back in the Games for the first time since the men’s 50 over competition at Kuala Lumpur in 1998. The debut of women’s T20 cricket will be an historic moment and a wonderful showcase of women’s sport across the world.”
Commonwealth Games Sri Lanka Secretary General Maxwell de Silva said: “We are delighted to have qualified for the Commonwealth Games women’s T20 cricket tournament.
“Our team put on a fantastic display as they won all four matches at the qualification tournament to secure the final spot at Birmingham 2022.
“I would like to congratulate Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu and the entire team as they join a world class line up in Birmingham for what will be a special moment for cricket and the Commonwealth Games.”
Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu said: “It’s a great feeling to have qualified for the Commonwealth Games and all of us are really excited to be part of the multi-sport extravaganza. I’m sure it’s going to be a different experience for all of us.
“We had a memorable Qualifying tournament in Kuala Lumpur and now look forward to doing well in Birmingham against the best.
“I would like to thank Sri Lanka Cricket, the ICC, Commonwealth Games Sri Lanka and the CGF for all their support.”
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, being held from 28 July to 8 August, will see 4,500 athletes from 72 nations and territories compete across the 11 spectacular days of sport. Birmingham 2022 will be the first major multi-sport event in history to award more medals to women than men.
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