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Heather Knight: Commonwealth Games inclusion is crucial for women’s cricket

Heather Knight
I am in the England camp as we get ready to face the West Indies on Friday and a lot of the talk has surrounded the news that women’s cricket is one step nearer to being included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
  • Women’s cricket has been nominated by the Commonwealth Games Federation to be a part of Birmingham 2022
  • The decision is still to be ratified by Commonwealth Games Federation members

I am in the England camp as we get ready to face the West Indies on Friday and a lot of the talk has surrounded the news that women’s cricket is one step nearer to being included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

It is brilliant news. I knew the ICC and ECB had pushed for it to be included and it has all clicked into place perfectly. Birmingham is the ideal place to hold it too, it’s a city that loves its cricket and will really get behind the team.

As cricketers, you never really think about the Commonwealth Games, it is all about the Ashes and World Cups. But I used to love watching the Olympics and Commonwealth Games as a kid, following the stories and the athletes representing their country and winning golds.

Hopefully this will take women’s cricket to a new audience, to other countries who never really saw it as a priority and increase its funding. Hopefully, I will still be playing in 2022 too!

All the girls would love to be a part of it, it is a little bit different and unique. Everyone relates to the Commonwealth Games and representing England makes me very proud so to do so there would be special. If you look at what the Commonwealth gold did for English netball after last year you can see what an amazing impact it could have on women’s cricket in this country.

To be back in England will be special too after winning the World Cup on home soil back in 2017 but it will have the added clout of being a part of the Commonwealth Games and all the other major sports involved.

To have an international competition in this country again is amazing. I was 11 when the Commonwealth Games in 2002 was held in Manchester but I can remember some of it and seeing English athletes winning gold. Things like that always inspired and pushed me and I hope young girls will be the same.

The England men’s side are doing a pretty good job of inspiring people at the moment and they face Sri Lanka next in their next ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup match. They will be desperate to carry on the momentum.

They have Australia, India and New Zealand to come so it is going to be a tough finish but a win here would really shove them towards the semi-finals.

In 2017, when we qualified for the semi-finals we breathed a sigh of relief. It relaxes you to know you are heading into a semi-final. We got through early, like England men could do, and it helped us enjoy the last few games a bit more. We were less tense and enjoyed being out on the field a lot more because we knew the job up to that point was done.

It would be nice to see two spinners play at Headingley because that would mean Moeen Ali would receive his 100th ODI cap. That would be an awesome achievement!

The boys seem to really love him and his bowling has become a key part of their game. He has had some great cameos with the bat as well so hopefully he can go put there and deliver a special performance!

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