Bangladesh celebrating after winning the World T20 Qualifiers. ©ICC

During the media dinner in Dubai, ICC has announced they are looking into adding Bangladesh and Ireland to the ICC Women’s Championship (IWC). ICC’s new Global Strategy is scheduled to come out in October. A meeting will be held before that by the governing board to make decisions regarding it. Given the rise in popularity of the game, it will be logical to assume there will be many points in it pertaining to the development of women’s cricket.

After Bangladesh’s breakout run in the Asia Cup, there has been plenty of noise to add them to IWC. In it, Bangladesh defeat two members of the Championship, India and Pakistan. Their historic first-ever win over India in the group stages of the tournament was not their last either. In the final, Bangladesh managed to triumph over the six-time defending champions to lift the trophy for the first time.

Their win certainly has done that. Though the matter is still being deliberated over, if the idea is passed, Bangladesh and Ireland will benefit immensely from it. At the moment, they have to try and arrange tours with the Full Members outside of the IWC. Joining it will give both teams more exposure and international experience. Their inclusion will increase the number of Full Members from eight to ten. Clearer details on this subject will come out in October.

“We’ve got a discussion on paper (about Bangladesh and Ireland’s addition) going into the ICC board meeting in October,” ICC’s General Manager Geoff Allardice said. “We’ll take it up with the chief executives to discuss the structure of the Women’s Championship from the next cycle. The discussion in October will be about what the future and the formats of the Women’s Championship cycle will be.”

“Having said that, we acknowledge the giant strides Bangladesh have taken in recent times. They are starting to emerge as a strong team and we must ensure they get every opportunity to improve. Ireland are shaping up well. One of the steps we’ve taken towards bringing a balance is by ensuring all Twenty-20’s between teams now have international status because this could have the potential to unlock government funding. This has now helped Thailand women make big strides in recent times,” he concluded.

He was referring to Thailand’s famous win over Sri Lanka, their first victory against a Full Member, in his last sentence. This was also during the Asia Cup in June, where Bangladesh defeated India for the first time.

Ireland government has revealed they will be putting in EUR 1.5 million to help improve high-performance sporting organisations in the country. EUR 40,000 of this will be given especially to the Ireland women’s cricket team to ensure they are well prepared for the upcoming World Twenty-20.

If Bangladesh and Ireland are to join the IWC, they will become its’ member in the next cycle. A new cycle starts at the end of each World Cup, so they will be able to join in three years’ time, after the World Cup in 2021, which is hosted by New Zealand.

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