The second edition of the ICC Women’s Championship gets underway with the series between the Windies and Sri Lanka in Trinidad from 11 to 15 October amid rising expectations after the success of the first cycle from 2014-16 won by Australia.
With players, administrators and officials all giving credit for a rise in the standard of women’s cricket to this eight-team tournament which ensures series against each of the other sides, the championship is likely to come more into focus in this cycle that will culminate in 2020.
The tournament will be played on the same format as the inaugural edition which was held from 2014-16, with all eight sides – Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Windies – taking on each other in series of three ODIs on a home or away basis.
World Cup 2021 hosts New Zealand and the three other top teams from this championship will gain direct qualification for women’s pinnacle event while the remaining sides will get a second chance through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2021 (details to be announced in due course).
Member boards will be encouraged to play T20Is during tours but no other ODIs can be scheduled along with Women’s Championship series. Teams will get two points for each win, one point for a tie or no-result and no points for a loss.
The captains of the two sides, who figured in a well fought series last time with the Windies prevailing 2-1 in Colombo in May 2015, exuded confidence ahead of the upcoming series.
Windies captain Stafanie Taylor: “For many of us, we relish any and every opportunity we get to play, so the ICC Women’s Championship has proven to be a very important platform in the development of the women’s game in the last few years. This was evidenced by the huge response to the ICC Women’s World Cup that was staged earlier this year in England, so we are looking forward to the start of the Championship and the journey that we face to qualify for the next ICC WWC.
“The journey to reach the next ICC Women’s World Cup starts here, so we will be taking it one match at a time. At the same time, we also have to continue to expose players and fortify our side, so it will be an interesting challenge. We have won six of our last eight matches against the Sri Lankans, including at this year’s ICC WWC, so we are working to ensure that this trend continues.
“All of the players that were involved with the last ICC Women’s World Cup have been retained, so we are quite familiar with each other. We more or else know what makes everybody tick, and everyone is keen to get down to business and play. We were shattered by our performance in the ICC WWC in England. We knew we let down our fans, so we want to restore their faith in us by playing to our true potential and ability during the coming series and the remainder of the ICC Women’s Championship.
“It’s always good to be able to play before your own fans. We urge supporters in Trinidad to come out and watch some entertaining ICC Women’s Championship matches. The matches are being played at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy and we hope that playing in a venue named after one of the greatest West Indies players of all time will inspire us all to perform at our best.
“It’s an honour to be given the privilege to lead this group of women into battle again. The girls have always given their fullest support and it should be no different during this series. For me, there was bit of a rest and recuperation following a busy period which included the ICC Women’s Cup and the Super League Twenty20 Series, both in England. It’s good to be back out on the park, and for me, it will be looking for improvement and consistency, especially in the batting. Three-figure scores have been elusive over the last few years and this is one of the things that need to be put right.”
Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera: “"As women's cricket gains momentum across the globe, I am proud to lead my team off to this exciting series. This tour for us is a combination of a bilateral series and the launch of the ICC Women's Championship.
“Our performance as a team has been improving consistently and we look forward to the opportunity to show our prowess. Playing away from home is never an easy task, but we intend to bring our A game as I am sure our Windies counterparts do.
“My team and I look forward to the next few weeks playing some great cricket in the Caribbean."
ICC Women’s Championship The Windies v Sri Lanka Fixtures:
11 October: 1st ODI, Trinidad
13 October: 2nd ODI, Trinidad
15 October: 3rd ODI, Trinidad
The Windies: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Kyshona Knight, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman.
Sri Lanka: Inoka Ranaweera (captain), Chamari Athapaththu, Chandima Gunarathne, Nipuni Hansika, Achini Kulasuriya, Ama Kanchana, Hansima Karunarathne, Dilani Manodara, Yashoda Mendis, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodani, Shashikala Siriwardena, Rebeca Vandort, Prasadani Weerakkodi, Sripali Weerakkody.