Sat | Jan 16, 2021

JCA hopeful about Commonwealth Games participation

Published:Friday | November 27, 2020 | 12:27 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica women’s cricket team player Rashada Williams.
Jamaica women’s cricket team player Rashada Williams.

Jamaica Cricket Association Chief Executive Officer Courtney Francis says he would love if Jamaica could win the T20 Blaze Women’s competition next year and represent the region at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in 2022.

The Commonwealth Games Federation recently announced that women’s T20 cricket has been confirmed for inclusion at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after a joint bid by the International Cricket Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The six top-ranked countries, including hosts England, will automatically qualify for the games, set for July 7 to August 27, 2022, with the representative from the regional qualifiers joining the other seven teams in the tournament.

“We have always been strong contenders in women’s cricket over the years, having one of the most dominant teams in the region,” Francis said. “We have a core group of about five or six persons who are in training as we speak, and we believe with the experience of Stafanie Taylor and the inclusion of some of our best under-19 talent, we can do well.”

Francis confirmed that former Jamaica senior men’s coach Junior Bennett is now assisting with the female programme after the death of long-standing coach Cleon Smith.

Francis said that the return of cricket to the Commonwealth Games could bring about big spin-offs for the women’s game.

“If we can win and enter the Commonwealth Games, it would create so many opportunities and widen the scope of women’s cricket. Local players can now get a chance to showcase their talent on a global scale, and some of them may even be able to pick up overseas contracts. So the women would not only look forward to playing in regional tournaments, but they can now look forward to the Commonwealth Games every four years.”

The last time cricket was played at the Commonwealth Games was in 1998 when Jamaica’s men’s team, captained by Jimmy Adams, took part in the 50over tournament with Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda.