By Laura Price
Since the ICC took over organising the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2009, the tournament has been played parallel to the men’s tournament. This is, however, set to change; the ICC have announced that the 2018 Women’s World Twenty20 will no longer be held parallel to the men’s event but as a standalone tournament in the West Indies.
Prior to the events being separated, the women’s tournament has received secondary media coverage and support to the men’s event.
This year, for the first time, all 23 matches will be broadcast live across more than 200 countries all around the world. In previous years live matches have only been aired from the semi finals onwards and never by so many outlets. This year’s increased publicity is set to ensure that the players receive the recognition they deserve, better coverage gives the event its own identity as a top level tournament.
The popularity of women’s cricket is growing at a rapid rate, the standard of playing is the highest it has ever been and is constantly improving. The ICC’s decision to move the women’s tournament away from the men’s is a natural progression following the increased coverage, support and success of women’s cricket.
The demand for women’s sport and women’s cricket specifically is increasing, last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup broke records as 180 million people tuned in to watch the final.
Fans and players alike are excited at the change. In an interview with the ICC, England captain and Cardiff alumni, Heather Knight, says “We’re really excited about the World T20 in the Caribbean. It’s an amazing chance to become double world champions.” The ten-team tournament is set to be the most competitive yet. Host team, West Indies are looking to defend their Twenty20 title and England aren’t giving up their World Champion title without a fight. On course to break records this tournament is one to watch.
The separation of the men’s and women’s tournaments is a huge victory for the women’s game. It offers the players the respect and the identity they deserve as professionals of their sport. Perhaps even more importantly, it offers the chance for young girls to see successful sportswomen performing at the top of their game.