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Commonwealth Games 2022

Why Barbados, and not West Indies, are playing the women’s cricket competition in the Commonwealth Games

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Barbados are taking part in the cricket event in the Commonwealth Games, rather than West Indies, the international side they usually form part of.

Here’s all you need to know about how they made the cut, and why a combined team from Windies, as is the norm in international cricket, will not be in action.

Women’s cricket marks its debut in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, although there was a men’s cricket event in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. That edition, featuring the likes of Northern Ireland and Jamaica, was played in Kuala Lumpur with South Africa winning the 50-over tournament. However, all matches were given List A status by the ICC then, instead of being played as ODIs, which differs from the 2022 competition, where all the games will be given official T20I status.

Eight teams will participate in the event: Australia, Pakistan, India and Barbados, who are in Group A, along with Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand and South Africa in Group B.

What was the qualification process?

Hosts England automatically qualified for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and they were joined by the top-six ranked sides according to the ICC Women’s T20I team rankings as of April 1, 2021. Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies, thus made the cut.

Sri Lanka made the competition after winning the qualifying tournament, beating out the likes of Bangladesh, Scotland, Kenya and Malaysia.

Where are West Indies?

If West Indies automatically qualified for the event, why aren’t they taking part? Unlike in international cricket, where a group of six countries come together to play under one flag for the West Indies, the Commonwealth protocols are different, requiring a separate representation for each country.

Cricket West Indies consists of six cricket associations: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands, with two of those – Leeward and Windward Islands – themselves composed of several countries. Chris Gayle, for example, belongs to Jamaica while Brian Lara represented Trinidad in age-group cricket, but both turned out to play for West Indies under one flag on the international stage.

In multi-nation and multi-sporting events, including the Olympics, this differs where each different country must compete as themselves and not combined as a single group. As a result, during the 1998 Commonwealth Games, three different countries from the West Indies took part in the cricket competition: Antigua, Barbados and Jamaica.

The West Indies are not the only team to face this complication. In another instance, back in 1998, a team from Northern Ireland had participated – usually, players from Northern Ireland turned out in the Commonwealth games, with the Republic of Ireland not a part of the Commonwealth. The England team will also not represent Wales, as it usually would.

How did Barbados make the cut?

Once a team from the West Indies automatically qualified for the CWG, Cricket West Indies intended to stage a mini-qualifying event of sorts to determine the country that would play in Birmingham. Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago along with two composite teams from the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands were in contention. However, the event could not be held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barbados were then picked as the team to play in the CWG as they had won the most recent edition of the T20 Blaze, West Indies’ regional T20 competition.

Who are the international players representing Barbados?

This will be the first time ever that Barbados will play a women’s international T20 match. The side will be captained by Hayley Matthews, also the skipper of the West Indies, and also features all-rounder Deandra Dottin. Shamilia Connell, Shakera Selman, Kyshona Knight and Kycia Knight are some of the other internationals who will play for Barbados.

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