Mithali Raj © Getty Images
Mithali Raj © Getty Images

Women’s cricket has seen a sudden rise over the past few years. The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 in particular has left an impact on many. The first edition of ICC Women’s Championship that comprised of countries like India, Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa boosted women’s cricket. The first edition was conducted from 2014-16 to provide more competitive opportunities and increase the strength and depth of the women’s game. Considering the stats have shown increase in viewership as well as the likeliness towards the game, ICC have introduced the second edition as well. India skipper Mithali Raj launched the second edition in Delhi on Monday.

This championship will provide an opportunity for the teams to find a berth in the 2021 Women’s World Cup which will be held in New Zealand.

The tournament will witness eight teams – India, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, England and Pakistan – clash against each other in series of three ODIs on a home or away basis. World Cup 2021 host New Zealand and the three other top teams from this championship will gain direct qualification for ICC’s pinnacle event.

The remaining four sides will get a second chance through the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier event. In the Qualifiers the remaining four teams will be joined by six teams from four regions – Africa, Asia, East Asia Pacific and Europe.

Mithali expressed excitement for the second edition and told the reporters, “The ICC Women’s Championship has contributed immensely in the growth of players and the competition at the top level has increased substantially. I’m sure the coming cycle of the championship will see some fiercely contested matches.”

England skipper Heather Knight too is looking forward to the next round of Championship, “The ICC Women’s Championship has been great for raising standards and for getting us playing more cricket. We’re looking forward to the next cycle and another productive period.”

The championship will go underway from October 11. West Indies will be hosting Sri Lanka for 3-match ODI series. It will be followed by a series between England and Australia i.e. the women’s Ashes.

After the men wrap up their series against Sri Lanka in UAE, Pakistan women will hosts New Zealand in November. One can witness the women in blue take on South Africa in January. It will run simultaneously with the men’s tour of South Africa.