The International Cricket Council joined millions of people across the globe in celebrating International Women’s Day
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to reflect on the progress made in cricket in recent times, and to refocus on the exciting future ahead.
“With the first women’s match of the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 only 15 days’ away, I am pleased to say that it will be the fourth time that the men’s and women’s competitions will be played alongside each other, with the women’s semi-finals and final held on the same day and at the same venue as the men’s.
“The double-header semi-finals and finals will be broadcast live across the globe, and, as such, the talent, skill and hard work of the world’s best female players will again be enjoyed by a global television audience, another significant boost to the profile of the women’s game,” he said.
Mr Richardson also recognised the recent appointment of New Zealand’s Kathy Cross to the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires as a significant milestone in the ICC’s Females in World Cricket Strategy. “Kathy Cross became the first female appointed to an ICC match officials’ panel, and today, she is standing in World Cricket League Division 5 in Malaysia, a global men’s qualification tournament. She is an excellent role model for aspiring male and female umpires, and we hope that this will lead to more female officials in the global game.”
Australia’s Ellyse Perry, one of the highest profile stars in the game today, has won three major ICC events, including the past two ICC World Twenty20 titles. The 23-year-old, who was the fifth-highest wicket-taker of the 2012 event with six scalps, said: “International Women’s Day provides a great time to recognise the continual development of women’s cricket and the great progress the game continues to make. The game at the top level is more professional than ever, and there a great many more opportunities for young girls and women to be involved in the sport at any level.
"In this respect, the game continues to grow simultaneously at a professional and grass roots level. Cricket Australia's restructuring of the contract systems for the country’s top female players gives us the chance to concentrate further on becoming the best side in the world and at the same time playing an important role in growing the game for female participants.
“We have taken great strides in developing cricket into a sport that attracts females from all walks of life, and cricket is a sport that truly celebrates and supports diversity. Excitingly, there is still plenty of work ahead to ensure it becomes further established as the number one sport of choice for young girls across the nation and globally.”
Pakistan captain Sana Mir, who also captained the side in Sri Lanka in 2012 and who took four wickets, said: “It is fantastic to be celebrating International Women’s Day looking forward to the ICC World Twenty20 2014.
“The Pakistan team has made huge progress over recent years, and we can’t wait to make a further impact on the global stage. The landscape in women’s cricket is very different to even five years ago, with so many competitive teams now and more opportunities to play cricket.”
Reflecting on the importance of women’s cricket in Pakistan, the 28-year-old said: “Women’s cricket is growing in Pakistan and it is important for the female population in Pakistan to be seeing the national team do well, and for us to be role models. It is great to see so many young girls taking up the sport not just in Pakistan but around the world.”
Through the implementation of the ICC’s Females in World Cricket Strategy, more females are now involved in cricket than ever before. Participation numbers are steadily rising and now sit at over 900,000, while additional opportunities for female umpires to officiate internationally are now available.