Auckland, Feb 23 (SocialNews.XYZ) New Zealand women's cricket team skipper Sophie Devine has said that these are exciting times for women's cricket with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games this year and the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2023, adding that her team will hope to emulate the 2000 title-winning feat when the ICC Women's 50-over World Cup begins in her country on March 4.
The Women's World Cup will be played across six venues in New Zealand with the hosts set to take on the West Indies on the opening day.
"The coming year is huge for women's cricket as it makes its debut at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July-August and with the ICC Women's T20 World Cup scheduled for early next year in South Africa. It is super exciting to kick-off a huge period for women's cricket and we want to put performances out there that both ourselves and the country can be proud of," said Devine in her column for the ICC on Wednesday.
"I've been fortunate to have played across a number of World Cups... and playing in New Zealand is massive for us as a team. Looking back, it was an incredible achievement from the 2000 White Ferns to win the World Cup at home. It certainly inspired several players in our current team, and we hope we can also inspire a new generation of cricketers both at home and around the world," added Devine.
The 32-year-old Devine, a veteran of 120 WODIs, added that all the competing teams had made huge sacrifices in the COVID world to come and be a part of the showpiece event in New Zealand.
"We are very grateful to all the teams for making sacrifices to join us for what will hopefully be an exciting and hard-fought tournament. It has been a tough time for everyone over the past couple of years and this World Cup is a chance for us to put a smile on people's faces.
"This tournament will break new ground for women's cricket; firstly as Bangladesh become the 12th team to compete in an ICC Women's Cricket World Cup," added Devine, whose team is in the middle of an entertaining five-match ODI series against India.
The White Ferns are leading the series against the Mithali Raj-led side 4-0.
"I am looking forward to coming up against (Bangladesh's) Nigar Sultana and her team. We were really impressed when we played them for the first time at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in 2020 and I am sure they will put up just as much of a fight in the 50-over format.
"Bangladesh and Thailand show how the women's game is continuing to grow and the importance of the ICC Women's Championship which I am happy to see expand to 10 teams. I see us playing an important role in ensuring that we grow the game. Having stronger teams and more competitive cricket can only be a positive thing for the women's game," she added.