Photo Credit: USA Cricket
USA Cricket have been awarded as winners of the ICC Development Award for 2021 in the 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year for the ICC Americas region. The award was given for the fantastic development of the new Women and Girls Pathway that was launched in May 2021 and tied in to the subsequently launched plan to Shape the Future for Women and Girls in American Cricket during 2021-2023.
The ICC Development Awards 2021 reflect these achievements and show how Associate Members keep empowering individuals and reaching out to communities, we celebrate these stories this International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The regional winners will now be put forward as the nominees for the global awards to be decided in the coming weeks.
100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year
The 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year acknowledges the outstanding female cricket focused initiative delivered by an Associate Member to promote the game, either through a physical participation program or a digitally delivered game development initiative during the year.
The women’s game is thriving in East-Asia Pacific and pandemic recovery efforts in Vanuatu have been boosted by the launch of the Women’s Island Cricket Program (WICP).
In October, 175 women from Port Vila and Tanna took part in the launch that was followed by a full week of competition and social impact activities.
The national teams went for two years without playing international cricket due to COVID-19 but the recreational scene remains vibrant with the WICP empowering women and girls through cricket.
In Africa the Sierra Leone Female Leadership Criiio Cricket Program has been recognized. 80 women and girls, predominantly schoolteachers, were trained in event management, cricket umpiring, scoring, coaching and reporting and are now co-ordinating entry level programs to try and bring thousands of school kids into the sport.
In Europe, Germany took the award after forming the Winterwunderliga to give females who were new to the sport a chance to play in the winter indoor season.
Building off the back of the success of last summer, 120 players – 80 percent of whom were complete novices only a year ago – took part in teams with bases in Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich and Frankfurt with experienced national team players assigned to each as mentors.
Bahrain embarked on the historic task of setting up the country’s first ever women’s cricket team. A heart-warming response saw almost 200 registrations and the BCF Women’s League was formed in December 2021, with the national women’s team coming as a direct result of the initiative.
The league has overcome substantial challenges, from cultural to logistical – a lack of grass pitches has seen matches played in sand grounds with cement wickets – and the players’ sheer dogged determination to succeed has shone through, giving them the wings to fulfil their cricketing dreams.
A new league has also been set up in the USA, who earned the Award in the Americas. The new Intra-Regional Women’s Competition for aspiring female hard-ball cricketers launched in June 2021 and featured 12 teams playing a mixture of T20 and 40-over matches within four geographic regions.
The inaugural tournament established a clear pathway from grassroots to representative cricket and selectors picked teams to represent each of the four regions, which later became West Conference and East Conference sides.
In all, nearly 160 females took part – many of whom were playing competitive games for the first time. As a result, plenty of young players have made their national team debuts in recent months.