Photo Credit: ICC
The first ICC Women’s T20 Women’s Cup set to be staged in Africa is only a few days away and the excitement is bubbling over.
It has already been an immense summer for women’s cricket on the continent, and especially South Africa, with the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup being successfully staged in Benoni and Potchefstroom, last month.
Women’s cricket certainly has centre stage and the spotlight moves to the tip of the African continent, Cape Town, on Friday 10 February when the opening game of the ICC Women’s T20 Women’s Cup will be staged between hosts South Africa and Sri Lanka at the picturesque Newlands.
Proteas Women’s all-rounder Chloe Tryon can already feel the excitement in the air building up to the historic occasion and is fully aware of the significance of the moment not only for herself, but also for aspirant women cricketers on the continent.
“We have a World Cup in a couple of days. This doesn’t come around often. I think it inspires us every day. We look on social media how excited everybody is and how much people in the country want to come out and support us. It is exciting. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Tryon said.
“We have all sat together and worked really hard as a team. We want to make South Africa proud, ourselves proud and our families proud.”
The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup has the opportunity to change the landscape for generations of young women’s cricketers in South Africa and the continent.
Former England Women’s ICC World Cup-winning captain Karen Smithies, who has been coming to South Africa since 1998 and resides in the nation’s capital Pretoria since 2003, has witnessed first-hand the considerable development of the women’s game over the years in her adopted country.
Smithies believes that the staging of the ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup and now the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup will be game changing for the growth of the game in South Africa.
“The ICC T20 Women’s World Cup will show what we have … that we have a really good team. The team has been playing really good cricket over the last few years. But now to play a World Cup on home soil as the host nation is a great thing for the development of the game,” Smithies said.
“I think over the last three to four years women’s cricket in South Africa has grown immeasurably. This has mostly been due to the team’s performances. They have won series in New Zealand and in India, and semi-final appearances in both the 50-overs and T20 World Cups already, so in that time span it has grown immeasurably.
“Women’s cricket is growing from zero to hero very rapidly.”