x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Women's World Twenty20 needs its own place in the sun

The ICC, cricket's governing body, must organise the men's and women's events separately so that one does not overshadow the other.

Sarah Taylor hits out during England's ICC Women's World Twenty20 cricket warm-up match. The tournament began yesterday, but is anyone going to watch? Philip Brown / Reuters
Sarah Taylor hits out during England's ICC Women's World Twenty20 cricket warm-up match. The tournament began yesterday, but is anyone going to watch? Philip Brown / Reuters

You are forgiven for missing the fact the World Twenty20 championships began in earnest in Sri Lanka today.

The reason you may not have been aware: the women's tournament is going head-to-head with the men's version, as it did in the first two stagings of the ICC event in 2009 and 2010.

The women have had almost no publicity, given the attention paid instead by the cricketing media to the men's game. You have to wonder: does the ICC want the women's game to succeed?

Why go head-to-head? The women's game has the potential to do so, but it needs the limelight in which to flourish. The women's football World Cup has become a success in its own right in part because Fifa schedules it 12 months away from the men's tournament, giving it the chance to stand on its own and have its own identity.

The group games in the women's cricket tournament are being played in Galle, where none of the men's matches are taking place.

You could see some logic in playing the events at the same time, if the women's games were being played before the men's matches at the same stadiums throughout the tournament.

That is the case for the semi-finals and the final, which are played before the men's games in Colombo next month, but it feels like too little too late.

If the ICC really wants the women's version of T20 to thrive then let them have centre stage.

gcaygill@thenational.ae

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