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Belinda Clark
WorldT20

A full MCG will be 'a significant milestone' – Belinda Clark

Australia Women news

A year from today, on 8 March 2019, which is International Women's Day, the MCG will host the final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia.

There are high expectations for the final, with the tournament organisers aiming to fill all 90,000-plus seats at the stadium, making it the highest audience for any women's sport.

For Belinda Clark, former Australia captain, who was the first player, male or female, to strike a double-century in one-day internationals, just thinking about the possibility of a pulsating MCG is a reminder of just how the game has changed.

"We'd all be extremely proud of the players and Australian public for turning out to support [the game]"

"There'd definitely be tears and I think a lot of past players, we'd all be extremely proud of the players and Australian public for turning out to support [the game]," Clark said.

But, she cautioned, it should only be the start of greater achievements. "It's not the end point of a journey but a significant milestone, and I'm looking forward to seeing that come to life."

The batting legend, who led Australia to the world title in 1997, has previously said that she believed that a well-attended T20 World Cup could be a lesson to the new generation of cricket fans that packed stadiums and high-octane action is the norm in women's cricket. It would mark a stark contrast to her own time in the game, when they often played with only a smattering of spectators, and didn't even know about the national side when they started off.

"The combination of Twenty20 cricket and television has opened up the eyes of the public"

In her own case, for instance, she began with dreams of playing tennis and turning out at Wimbledon, rather than the green and gold of Australian cricket. But now, she pointed out, there are more opportunities for players, who get to "play more, train more, get paid, be on television".

"It was a game that was silent to the vast majority of people," Clark said. "So while Australian teams have been playing since 1934-35, it was somewhat out of the public's mind. Now we've changed that drastically. I've seen that progress from invisible to very visible and it's been amazing to watch.

"The combination of Twenty20 cricket and television has opened up the eyes of the public and allowed the players to demonstrate what they can do in front of a lot more people."

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