In a bid to provide ample match training ahead of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday announced a bumper 2021-22 women’s cricket season.
Over the course of the upcoming season, the country’s top women players are scheduled to compete in 33 matches – domestic and international – in the home season. The women’s home season will commence on 9 September in Karachi with the 14-match, four-team Pakistan Cup Women’s One-Day Tournament and will be followed by the national side’s historic series against England Women, which will mark the current 50-over Women’s World Cup champions’ first-ever visit of the country.
The Heather Knight-led side will play two T20Is and three ODIs in October from 10 to 22 at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi. At the back-end of 2021, the national side will travel to Zimbabwe for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers, in which they will play seven matches – four group matches and three Super Six fixtures, subject to their qualification for the second round of the tournament – and the ACC Women’s Asia Cup, the details of which will be announced by the event organisers.
Meanwhile, the PCB is also in talks with an ICC member for an ODI women’s series prior to the national side’s departure for Zimbabwe. To continue to provide more competitive and quality-based cricket to the women players, the PCB has increased the number of matches, as well as the number of teams across all One-Day and T20 domestic tournaments. While this will help the players in enhancing their skills in match-situations, increased number of matches will also provide financial incentives in terms of more match fee.
As the player pool continues to increase gradually, the PCB has included a fourth team for the upcoming season, a move that will provide opportunity to more players to prove their mettle in domestic competitions. The PCB has also made an U19 T20 tournament part of the domestic calendar this year. This event will help in the identification of quality players from young age and prepare them for the first edition of the U19 World Cup, scheduled for 2023.
The 2021-22 women’s domestic season will end with the 14-match National Women’s T20 Cup, to be played in June-July next year prior to the national team’s departure for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. During the upcoming season, the national women’s team will also feature in the third cycle of the ICC Women’s Championship, which will commence after the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand next year.
Urooj Mumtaz, the chairperson women’s selection committee said : “We are pleased to announce what promises to be an action-packed women’s cricket season for 2021-22. The upcoming season holds a great significance in Pakistan’s women’s cricket history as we have not only planned quality-based competitive domestic tournaments, but also a major team such as England Women, will also be touring the country for the ever first time.
“Pakistan has never before seen such a jam-packed women’s cricket season. The domestic events and the bilateral international series have been designed in a way to provide effective opportunities to the players to prepare themselves for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
“The gradual growth in the player pool through our emerging team and Skills2Shine programme, has led to the addition of a fourth team in our domestic cricket. The increased number of matches will provide an opportunity to a larger group of players, thereby allowing greater opportunities, to polish and enhance their skills, temperament and game awareness.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we could only organise a T20 event in Rawalpindi last season, but this year we are scheduled to hold both One-Day and T20 events, including the addition of an U19 T20 tournament into our domestic calendar. This event will help identify and develop talented individuals keeping in mind the inaugural women’s U19 World Cup is scheduled for 2023. In addition, it will also enhance the player pool at the age-group level, creating a development pathway and feeder system for the national level.” The PCB will announce the match schedule, teams and other details about the domestic tournaments closer to the start of the events.