The International Cricket Council (ICC) has elected to postpone South Africa’s 2022 Women’s T20 World Cup to 2023, while five venues in New Zealand will receive funding for gender-neutral facilities ahead of the country’s staging of the Women’s World Cup.

The Women’s T20 World Cup was due to be held in November 2022, but will now be staged from February 9-26, 2023. The move follows the decision in August to postpone the 2021 Women’s World Cup to 2022 meaning there would have been three major events in 2022, with the Commonwealth Games due to take place in Birmingham, England in July of that year.

As there are currently no major women’s events scheduled to take place in 2023 the ICC said it has moved the T20 World Cup to better support player preparation and to continue to build the momentum around the women’s game beyond 2022.

ICC CEO Manu Sawhney explained: “Moving the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup to 2023 makes perfect sense on a number of levels. Firstly, it will provide a better workload balance for players giving them the best possible opportunity to perform to the highest levels on a global stage.

“Secondly, we can continue to build the momentum around the women’s game through 2022 and into 2023. We are committed to fuelling the growth of the women’s game and this decision enables us to do that over the longer term.”

The latest announcement continues a reshuffling of the international cricket calendar amid COVID-19. In August, the ICC postponed the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup by a year, while this year’s planned men’s T20 World Cup in Australia will now be held in 2022.

The ICC confirmed in July that Australia’s Men’s T20 World Cup had been postponed due to the pandemic. The event had originally been due to take place from October 18 to November 15. India will host the Men’s T20 World Cup in 2021 as planned, with Australia to now stage the event two years later than originally scheduled.

The rescheduled Women’s Cricket World Cup means that New Zealand will stage three women’s World Cup events in consecutive years. The country is also scheduled to co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup alongside Australia, while it will stage the Women’s Rugby World Cup next year.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Government has assigned NZ$2m (£1.05m/€1.17m/$1.39m) in funding for player facilities at five venues for the Women’s Cricket World Cup. As well as the Basin Reserve, the other venues to receive funding are Seddon Park, Hagley Oval, University Oval and the NZ Cricket High Performance Centre at Lincoln University.     

The upgrades focus on redevelopment of player facilities, including individual shower cubicles and toilets, to make them gender neutral and of a standard befitting the world’s best players. Wellington’s Basin Reserve is the first venue to be upgraded to provide fit-for-purpose, future proof, multi-sport changing rooms.        

The NZ$2m investment in Women’s Cricket World Cup venue upgrades follows an initial NZ$7.3m allocation for World Cup venues announced as part of the NZ$265m Sport Recovery Package announced in July. That investment covered upgrades to facilities at the match venues and training grounds for Rugby World Cup 2021, as well as the scoping of upgrades for Cricket World Cup and the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Commenting on the latest funding, ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 CEO Andrea Nelson said: “Beyond the nationwide celebration of cricket in 2022, the CWC22 legacy will improve the experience of our women and girls in cricket for future generations. This is what major events are all about.

“We’re very pleased that this World Cup will be the catalyst for meaningful change for many of New Zealand’s premier sporting venues and the players that will benefit from these facility upgrades for many years to come.”  

Image: ICC