Caribbean nation to fill one of two remaining spots for historic women’s tournament

LONDON— A Caribbean nation will claim one of the last two spots in the historic Twenty20 tournament when women’s cricket debuts at next year’s edition of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

With West Indies unable to compete as one entity, this year’s T20 Blaze — the Cricket West Indies (CWI) women’s domestic championship — will determine the country which joins several global powerhouses at the July 28 to August 8 Games.

“As per the qualification process, the winner of a designated Qualifying event will determine which country from the Caribbean region gets to participate as athletes will be representing their individual countries and not the West Indies as they would at ICC events,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) said in a statement yesterday.

CWI last hosted the T20 Blaze in 2019 when Barbados emerged winners in the tournament staged in Guyana.

The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic wiped out all domestic women’s cricket in the Caribbean last year and has continued to keep a question mark over the hosting of the T20 Blaze this year.

England, meanwhile, have qualified for the eight-team tournament by virtue of being hosts, while Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa all booked their spots courtesy of their current standing in the International Cricket Council Women’s T20 International rankings.

The ICC said the last spot in the Commonwealth Games tournament would be determined by another qualifying tournament scheduled to be staged before January 31 next year.