The National, Monday March 10th, 2014
CRICKET in the East Asia-Pacific region will celebrate International Women’s Day which was on March 8 by recognising female cricketers.
To mark the occasion the EAP will hold the 2014 Pepsi International Cricket Council East Asia-Pacific Women’s Trophy that from May 7-11 in Sano, Japan.
The event will be fought out by hosts and defending champions Japan, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa and the Cook Islands.
Papua New Guinea’s women’s team the Lewas are the second ranked team in the region behind Japan.
“We know that a bigger, better global game is one which has more women involved in all aspects of our sport and the ICC has committed to making that a strategic priority,” ICC EAP regional development manager Kieran McMillan said.
“Cricket in this region is growing in popularity – in 2014 over 250,000 people were involved in the game – and central to this emerging success is that it is a sport which females and males can enjoy on an equal footing.”
Over 45% of participants in the region are female and an increasing number of women are becoming involved in leadership roles in national cricket federations.
Last year three young female leaders from the Pacific spent ten weeks with Australian state cricket associations as part of the Australian Awards Fellowship program funded by DFAT. The women from Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji were provided opportunities to further enhance their skills, providing them with the confidence and expertise to drive new and improved programs in their own countries.
“In 2013 we also appointed the first ever female umpire to an ICC regional panel and we hope that Helen Atai from PNG can inspire more women to take up officiating roles in the game.”
The tournament will be the start of the pathway towards the 2016 ICC Women’s World T20 in India.
The winner in Japan will find themselves just one step away from a place in India by representing the region at the World T20 qualifier next year.
The event will also see Atai from PNG (EAP regional panel) and Kathy Cross from New Zealand (Associate and Affiliate Panel), the ICC’s first female panel umpires, officiating at the event.