New South Wales to host Women's World Cup fixtures
Six venues in New South Wales, Australia, will host the 2009 Women's World Cup between March 7 and 22, the ICC and Cricket Australia confirmed today. Just like the women's World Twenty20 next year, traditional rivals - India-Pakistan and Australia-New Zealand have been drawn in the same groups. The most significant development in this edition is that for the first time since 1973, the tournament comes under the umbrella of the ICC, following its merger with the International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC) in 2005.
"It is a best-of-the-best event that happens once every four years. It showcases all that is great about women's cricket, and the ICC is delighted to have it under its umbrella for the first time," David Morgan, the ICC president said.
"The profile allows us to grow women's cricket in the same way we have with the men's game over several years, and we are already starting to see the benefit of the merger with the IWCC through ever-increasing coverage and the financial benefits for the top players that flow from that."
Significantly, coverage of the tournament is set to get a tremendous boost with ESPN Star Sports, the ICC's television partners, set to cover at least six of the 25 games live. All six will take place at the North Sydney Oval, also the venue for the final.
Leading women cricketers have welcomed the ICC's initiative in uplifting the profile of the game, thanks to the television deal.
"Events like these will enable women's cricket to promote the game at the highest level," Australia's Lisa Sthalekar said. "The reason for this is that with at least six matches televised it will make the game more accessible to a wider audience. Thanks to this exposure it is only a matter of time before cricket will be competing with other high-profile women's sports."
Charlotte Edwards, the England captain, said she was looking forward to her fourth World Cup.
"It's any captain's dream to win a World Cup and the way we have played over the last twelve months puts us in a good position going into this one," Edwards said. "A lot of the team has been playing together over the last four years or so, so we're really gelling as a unit and it's something that's in the back of our minds as we go into these Natwest Women's Series against South Africa and India.
"Playing the tournament in Australia makes it even more special, particularly the fact that it's in Sydney, a city we all love. We honestly can't wait to get out there and test ourselves against the best in the world."