Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022: White Ferns named for women's cricket debut

After a forgettable domestic summer, the Whites Ferns have received a desperately needed boost, with confirmation for the debut of women's cricket at next year's Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Based on their world ranking, New Zealand have joined England, Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa and a West Indies nation in the eight-team tournament, contested over the Twenty20 format.

While West Indies compete as a combined team in international cricket, their nations contest the Commonwealth Games separately.

The final spot will be filled through a qualification tournament.  

"We are incredibly proud and excited to be part of Birmingham 2022," says ICC acting chief executive Geoff Allardice. "It is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to grow the women's game globally."

The only previous time cricket appeared at the Commonwealth Games, the NZ men took the bronze medal - behind South African and Australia - in a 50-over one-day format at Kuala Lumpur 1998.

New Zealand are fourth on women's T20 world rankings, behind world champions Australia, England and India, and held their trans-Tasman rivals to a rain-affected 1-1 drawn series in March.

But across 12 limited-over outings during the summer, the White Ferns managed only one other victory - a one-day effort against reigning world champions England at Dunedin - while losing star all-rounder and captain Sophie Devine to burnout mid-season.  

After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the tournament a year, New Zealand will host the Women's Cricket World Cup in March/April 2022, with the Commonwealth Games scheduled for July/August.