It has been a long time coming. On the 8th of March this year, International Women’s Day, some 87,000 spectators were at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch the final of the T20 World Cup. The goal, to fill the ‘G for the decider of that tournament, was essentially met as the home side thrashed India. And while the Australians were triumphant, it was more than that – a defiant signal to any naysayers left out there that women’s cricket was a big deal and big business.
But then, within days, the world changed in ways that could not have been comprehended throughout that joyous fortnight. From a record-breaking high to a desolation, where women’s cricket has been not so much on the backburner but out of sight entirely. Tonight, however, that can be put behind England and the West Indies as they play the first women’s international between full-member nations of the ICC since Coronavirus played its lethal hand.
For the hosts, this is not what they had on the agenda when their summer schedule was finally announced in July. Back then, this was set to be a tri-series involving both India and South Africa. However, for reasons of biosecurity, both prospective tourists pulled out. The ODI World Cup was pushed back 12 months too, which means Heather Knight’s side won’t be defending their crown next February after all.
But to the credit of the West Indies, with no more than ten days notice after the Proteas formally pulled the pin, they filled they once again filled the breach for this reconfigued series of five T20s over the next eight days. Sure, they have battled in recent years against England (especially in England) but on their teamsheet tonight are some of the most explosive and talented players in the world, led by all-round superstar Stafanie Taylor. And with that, after 198 days, women’s cricket is back.