The inaugural edition of the ICC Women’s Championship kicks off in August and will see the top eight sides in the game lock horns in a multi-year, bilateral qualifying competition that will lead into the pinnacle event in women’s cricket, the ICC Women’s World Cup.
Developed in order to create a more extensive and meaningful bilateral playing programme for women's cricket, the ICC Women’s Championship will see the eight sides play each other in three One-Day Internationals, either at home or away, between 2014 and 2016.
Points will be awarded for each game, with the top four sides at the conclusion of the ICC Women’s Championship gaining automatic qualification to the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017, to be hosted by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The bottom four sides will have a second chance to qualify for the marquee event through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017, details of which will be announced in due course. Joined by six regional qualifiers, the bottom four will face off for the final four positions at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.
The first round of the ICC Women’s Championship will see reigning world champion Australia begin its title defence against Pakistan on home soil, while three-time ICC Women’s World Cup champion England will host India, Sri Lanka will host South Africa and the West Indies will host New Zealand. The dates and venues for the first round fixtures will be announced shortly.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “The ICC Women’s Championship provides another fantastic opportunity for women’s cricket. Following the ICC Board’s decision to hold a stand-alone ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament every four years, alternately with the ongoing joint men’s and women’s ICC World Twenty20, this tournament guarantees both regular playing opportunities and a meritocratic pathway to the ICC Women’s World Cup.”
Chair of the ICC Women’s Committee, Clare Connor, said: “The ICC Women’s Championship is an exciting new initiative that represents a significant step in the continued development of women’s cricket. The multi-year structure provides regular playing opportunities for the leading women’s teams, as well as clear context around bi-lateral series that provides a competitive pathway into the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.”
The seven rounds of the ICC WC will be played during windows as follows:
The competing teams will announce fixture details closer to the relevant dates.