The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday confirmed that they have submitted a bid for the inclusion of Twenty20 women's cricket in the 2022 Commonwealth Games slated to be held in Birmingham, England.
The bid, which has been made in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), will see one of the world's fastest growing women's team sports apply to become part of the Commonwealth Games family.
Reflecting on the same, ICC chief executive David Richardson said that cricket and commonwealth are perfectly aligned as 910 million cricket fans are from Commonwealth countries.
He further stated that Birmingham is a perfect place to launch this "partnership" as the city "shares a rich and diverse culture and heritage."
"Cricket and the Commonwealth are inextricably linked and almost perfectly aligned with 910 million of cricket's one billion plus adult fans from Commonwealth countries. Creating a new partnership between women's cricket and the Commonwealth Games demonstrates the commitment both organisations have to grow women's sport and delivering greater equality, fairness, and opportunity in sport across the Commonwealth," Richardson said.
"Birmingham is the perfect place to launch this partnership as the city shares cricket's rich and diverse culture and heritage. 23 per cent of the city's residents have links to cricket playing nations outside the UK, the deep connection between cricket and Birmingham will bring people together and inspire future generations of players and fans of women's cricket," he added.
The chief executive also expressed belief that including women's cricket in Commonwealth Games would provide a much-needed inspiration for young girls to take up the sport regardless of their background or culture.
"We would like cricket to lead the way in the Commonwealth in inspiring more young girls to take up sport regardless of their background or culture. There's a saying that 'you can't be it if you can't see it' - imagine the impact of millions of young girls around the world watching women's cricket in the Commonwealth Games and being empowered with the knowledge that they too can play cricket, represent their country and compete on a global stage," he said.
When asked why the same effort is not being made with regards to men's cricket, Richardson said that despite a lot of developments in women's cricket over the last few years, cricket for girls is not considered as a mainstream sport in many of their member countries.
"Women's cricket has come on in leaps and bound over the last few years but still in many of our member countries, it is not regarded as a mainstream sport for women and girls. Women's event in commonwealth games will allow us to certainly change that," he said.
"If we want to be ambitious about women's cricket then we need to make bold decisions. Women's event in Commonwealth Games will be one of those decisions that we would look back and say that it was a game changer for women's game. Amongst the men, cricket is popular in those countries. Women's cricket has got a little bit to make up," he added.
Cricket has made just one appearance at the Commonwealth Games previously, with men playing in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur where South Africa stood on top of the podium.
The application for inclusion of women's cricket for Birmingham 2022 is part of the global strategy for cricket to inspire and empower women and girls around the world and to drive greater levels of inclusivity and opportunity throughout the sport.