Women’s cricket shining in Canada’s sports landscape

More opportunities underway for female cricketers

KING CITY, Ont. - July 9 - Ontario Heat team posing with the Championship cup. All Rounder Vanadana Mahajan was declared player of the match. Ontario Heat beat British Columbia by 54 runs to win the 2023 National Women T20 Championship Final. (Kashish Dhawan photo) 

KING CITY, Ont. – Cricket is a sport with a rich history that dates back to the 16th century and is enjoyed by millions worldwide. The game is witnessing a remarkable rise in popularity in Canada.

With a growing number of enthusiastic players and supporters, the country has full-fledged men’s and women’s teams competing with other nations. Even more encouraging is the equal amount of support for women’s cricket. Cricket Canada has ensured that talented female players get the opportunities and resources they need to represent their country internationally.

Cricket Canada’s women’s director Durriya Shabbir recently talked about the focus on organizing national and regional tournaments for the girls and how it helped the players to grow.

“We took them to Brazil last year, and the team had a blast. They won the South American Championship,” she said in an interview with the Toronto Observer. “We look forward to organizing more such tours in coming years to give the players international exposure.”

With the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier coming up later this year, the board organized the National T20 Women’s Championship to select the squad to represent the country. The matches took place from July 6 to 9 at the turf-wicket pitches of King City’s Maple Leaf Cricket Club.

KING CITY, Ont. – July 9 – Ontario Heat’s batter Vandana Mahajan facing British Columbia’s all rounder Mohini Kalra’s dot ball. Mahajan was declared player of the match. Heat beat B.C. by 54 runs in the 2023 National Women T20 Championship Final. (Kashish Dhawan photo)

Seventy-five women cricketers participated in the championship, with two Ontario-based teams, Ontario Heat and Ontario Fire, playing against British Columbia, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada in a T20 round-robin match format. National Team Selectors and Head Coach Pubudu Dassanayake were present to analyze these enthusiastic women’s performances and finalize players.

“This year we saw so many new faces, youngsters with a lot of potential,” said National Team selector Fowzieh Yaqubien after the tournament. “Selecting a team from so many talented players, it’s a good problem to have.”

KING CITY, Ont. – July 9 – Ontario Fire players shake hands with the Prairies team post-match. Fire’s batter Achini Perera was declared player of the match. Ontario Fire beat Prairies by 10 wickets in 2023 National Women T20 Championship Final to bag third position. (Kashish Dhawan photo)

The matches saw a lot of emotions and drama, including the overs getting reduced to 14 for the Fire and Prairies due to weather conditions; Prairies captain Divya Saxena fainting during the match and getting called off the field; and the B.C. team getting a hat trick (three back-to-back wickets) in the 18th over, but during batting, they couldn’t find good partnership in the top order.

Ontario Heat emerged as the tournament winner by beating British Columbia by 54 runs, and Ontario Fire grabbed the third position by beating Prairies by 10 wickets.

Shabbir thanked people whose concerted efforts to promote women’s cricket in Canada have been yielding results.

“I would like to start from the provinces; the work they do over there to get these players to come out and form the teams,” Shabbir said. “With the support of the Cricket Canada Board, this tournament has grown over the years.”

The cricket body has been focusing on creating pathways for women to participate in cricket from a young age by setting up more clubs where they get trained with the boys, and both can learn from each other. With infrastructure development, dedicated development programs and expanded competition opportunities, Canada is nurturing the talent and potential of these female cricketers to build a solid national team.

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Posted: Jul 13 2023 7:41 pm
Filed under: Cricket Sports