Though the tournament is nine months away, the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 means that the Women’s World Cup, scheduled for February next year, is under a cloud already, with the possibility of the tournament being played behind closed doors strong. But for all-rounder Suzie Bates, an empty arena tournament isn’t an option.
“That would be a huge disappointment, especially with how far the women’s game has come,” Bates was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “I think if you’d asked me five years ago, I’d have said it wouldn’t have been too much different. Growing up, most of my cricket felt like it was played behind closed doors, but nowadays, with the attention we are getting and being at home, it would be a huge shame if it had to be played like that. I’d personally rather wait until we can do it as normal, when this has all cleared up, teams are able to travel and we are allowed crowds in the ground.”
The attention Bates speaks of was seen as recently as in February-March this year, during the Women’s T20 World Cup, which drew strong crowds throughout. The final attracted 86,174 fans to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a record crowd for a women’s sporting event in Australia.
Bates wants to see that atmosphere being recreated at grounds in New Zealand, which is the host for the tournament, and hoped that whatever workaround is required can be arrived at with crowds accommodated.
“I feel like New Zealand Cricket is now in a position where they realise how important this World Cup is to cricket in New Zealand, not just women’s cricket, but cricket in general, and I feel like they are really excited about the opportunity to see how many people they can get into grounds around the country,” she said.
“Obviously it’s on TV, but it’s about the atmosphere they can create, so I think they’ll be doing everything they can to make sure they can host it as normal. If there have to be changes made, I have faith they’ll do their best to have it with crowds.”