Tuesday, April 16, 2024

CWI: Trailblazer Williams ready to take her place in the middle at ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup

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Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies

Jacqueline Williams is preparing for another major step in her career as an international cricket umpire. The Jamaican is in New Zealand to do duty in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, where she is among the list of match officials. She is fresh from the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, where created history as the first female to stand in the tournament. She also had the special honour when she was the fourth umpire in the final at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Now the 45-year-old is New Zealand and readying herself for the marquee event in women’s cricket. The tournament bowls off on March 4 with the opening match between hosts New Zealand Women and our West Indies Women at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. The event runs until April 3 with the final at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Full tournament details here: https://www.cricketworldcup.com

“The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup was a very successful one for me. Going into any event I really don’t look towards being in the final or anything like that, I just focus on doing my job to the best of my ability,” Williams said. “One of the things that I was able to do, I prepared well for the tournament, and I was fortunate enough to be selected for the final, among an excellent team of officials. Making it to the finals, you know, that was a surreal moment for me and a very humbling one as well.”

She added: “Now, being appointed to the ICC Women’s World Cup is another step in my career and I want to continue to do a good job. I know a lot is expected of me and the ICC U19 World Cup would have given me some really good experience and some good on-field time as well as TV time. So, I’m just looking forward to transfer that success across here in the women’s tournament.”

Williams also noted that she wants to continue to be an inspiration for females across the region who have ambitions to be match officials or administrators in all sporting disciplines.

“I’m really looking ahead to this … what is ahead tournament and, as I have said in interviews before, I would like to be an inspiration to other female sports officials looking on so they can realize that ‘yes’ there are females out there … and they can see the path … do the work that is required.”

The ICC’s commitment to support women officials reflects in the appointments with several making their ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup debuts. Former South Africa player Shandré Fritz, who featured in the 2005, 2009 and 2013 World Cups, will be the Match Referee in a Women’s World Cup match, as will her compatriot Lauren Agenbag, the first woman from her country to umpire a T20I International. Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid (on-field), Alex Wharf (third umpire) and Sue Redfern (fourth umpire) will be the other officials for the opening match.

Along with Williams, Agenbeg, Fritz and Redfern, the other women officiating in the tournament are Match Referee GS Lakshmi and umpires Kim Cotton, Claire Polosak and Eloise Sheridan.

Adrian Griffith, ICC Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees, said the appointments were part of ICC’s policy of nurturing the best available talent in different countries. Griffith is a former West Indies top-order batter who played 14 Test matches and nine One-Day Internationals between 1997 and 2000.

“We are proud to announce eight women Match Officials in our team for the tournament. We had six women match officials at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020 and the steady upward path is as per our plans and keeping with our long-term vision. But while we have been continuously increasing the number of women officials, there have been no concessions and all of them deserve to be there,” Griffith said.

“The appointments are based on merit, and they have made it to the top level because of their skill and perseverance. It is good to have a good mix of experience and it is heartening to note the number of firsts for women officials in recent years. I wish all the match officials the very best and am confident that we will have fine adjudication during the tournament.”


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