The International Cricket Council on Monday, 22 November, unveiled its growth strategy, developed in partnership with the members, that places women’s cricket at the forefront.
The growth strategy will also help strengthen and grow the game across the globe with a vision of making it accessible to more nations, players and fans.
The ICC gave a detailed account as to how it intends to strengthen, grow and protect the game digitally.
In order to strengthen the sport, ICC has promised to deliver more cricket for all members and also invest in women’s cricket. Through ICC.tv, ICC plan to provide fans from across the globe with a platform to watch the game they love and also spoke about the development of a new mobile game.
To promote growth, ICC will also push for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics so as to make the game available to a wider audience. The ICC will aim to focus on entry-level programme criiio while also prioritising female participation.
ICC is keen to protect the game of cricket with its continued commitment to keep the sport corruption-free. Through its global community outreach programme, the ICC Cricket 4 Good, ICC will be looking to transform the lives of children and families worldwide.
In the media round-table for Global Strategy Launch, Independent ICC Chair Greg Barclay and newly-appointed full-time CEO Geoff Allardice spoke about how ICC is going help women’s cricket bounce back in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the growth of women’s cricket is among the six ambitions and strategic priority projects, Barclay spoke about the importance of women’s events being played and what the immediate future looks like.
“I think it is really important that we ensure that women’s events have an equal standing and same amount of recognition as the men’s events,” said Barclay. “We are desperate to ensure that we get the women’s event in New Zealand in the timeframe. It’s been postponed once for 12 months.
“There’s no doubt that with COVID we had challenges around the scheduling and hosting of all events and women’s cricket is no different. There have been plenty of women’s events and the future of the women’s game is really exciting. We are going to ensure that we continue to maintain and support the obvious growth potential that it has got.
“Getting an event away in a few months time is going to be pivotal in enabling us to do that. From what I have seen and I have got the advantage of being down in New Zealand, it should be a great tournament.”
“The last 12 months have been a bit uneven in terms of how much cricket the national women’s teams are playing, but we have just started in Zimbabwe with the qualifiers for the World Cup and it’s a really important tournament not only for who gets to play in the World Cup but also who gets to play in the next edition of the ICC Women’s Championship,” said Allardice.
“We are looking forward to a big 12 months. We have got the Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and then the Commonwealth Games in July and August in Birmingham. In early 2023, we have got a Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa.”
ICC also recently announced the host nations for every major men’s limited-overs event between 2024 and 2031. The T20 World Cup will now be played every two years while the Champions Trophy will fill the gap between two World Cups.
Speaking on the frequency of the world events, Allardice said, “We have got different events in different formats. The decision to play T20 World Cup every two years is a conscious one to try and position T20 as the growth format of the game across all of our members.
“The T20 World Cup in Oman and UAE was the first one in five years, which given the amount of T20Is that are played and the fact that so many of our members are playing that format is too long. The aim is to get it on a two-year rotation.
“The Champions Trophy, it is a very popular and well-supported event. It is short and sharp and provides high entertainment in the ODI format. It also provides a focal point for the ODI format in between the World Cups cycle of four years.”
While the limited-overs events have always drawn attention, the introduction of the World Test Championship has helped the longer format stay relevant on a global scale.
Speaking on the success of the World Test Championship, Barclay said, “We are always at the drawing board with all of our events and making sure that the fans are getting what they want. I think the two-year iteration of the World Test Championship was incredibly successful. The fans really bought into it.
“There will be some things that we will take out of it as there is with every event that we run. We will try to implement those to make it even better for the second iteration and beyond.
“Test cricket is part of the landscape, it is here to stay. WTC is a good addition to the calendar. We will continue to work through things we can do to improve it and hopefully the next will be better than the previous one.”