Commonwealth Games 2022 – Cricket: Qualifying for Birmingham a possibility
By Revatha S. Silva
Sri Lanka women’s national cricket team will leave for Malaysia on Sunday (9) to take part in the Cricket Qualifiers of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The qualifier tournament is to be held from 18-24 January.
Out of five countries, only one will get qualification from this tournament to enter the cricket segment of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
Cricket in the Com Games are set to be held from 29 July to 7 August.
‘We have the best chance’
“We have the best chance of getting through the qualification. We think we can get through without much trouble. Bangladesh and Scotland are expected to give us the stiffest resistance,” a Sri Lanka women’s team source told The Morning Sports yesterday (2) on the condition of anonymity, from their team hotel.
The Sri Lanka team is now under their pre-tour quarantine at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo whilst doing their regular practice at the nearby P. Sara Stadium.
Their preparations, though, had been somewhat hampered as one of their support-staff members had tested positive for Covid-19, while being inside the bio-security bubble.
A tour party of 29
“Currently the team is doing their practices under Head Coach Hashan Tillakaratne and his assistants, Lanka Silva and Dinuka Hettiarachchi, who are their Fielding and Spin Bowling Coaches, respectively,” the source added.
A total of 29 persons will leave for Malaysia on Sunday. The Sri Lanka women’s team will be under Chamari Athapaththu. The squad comprises of 16 players, plus four extra players. There will be nine officials in all.
Cricket introduced in 1998
Cricket was first introduced to the historic Commonwealth Games in 1998 when there was a men’s unofficial (List A) 50-over one-day tournament, which was part of the 16th Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
That time, Sri Lanka became fourth under Tillakaratne failing to win a medal. South Africa (under Shaun Pollock), Australia (Steve Waugh), and New Zealand (Stephen Fleming) won the gold, silver, and bronze medals respectively, out of 16 participating countries.
Only one out of five
Cricket did not play a part in the next five Com Games. This time, being reintroduced, it will only be a women’s Twenty20 International tournament with the participation of eight countries. No segment of cricket for men this time.
England as hosts along with Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan, who all come in as the International Cricket Council women’s T20I table-toppers in the current rankings, have already qualified for the Birmingham Games. Barbados will travel to Birmingham as the country representing the West Indies region in the Games.
That means only the eighth or the final slot is to be decided by the Malaysian qualifier tournament which Sri Lanka women are going to take part in.
Games begins on 28 July
Other than Sri Lanka, countries such as Bangladesh, Kenya, Malaysia, and Scotland will be playing in the Malaysian qualifiers hoping to grab the only remaining slot in the Birmingham Games.
The 22nd Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham from 28 July to 8 August.