Women’s World Cups to get two more teams from 2026: ICC

New Delhi (Agencies): The International Cricket Council said on Monday it would add two more teams to both the one-day and Twenty20 editions of the women’s World Cup from 2026 as part of its plans to expand the women’s game.

The Twenty20 World Cup in 2026 and the two subsequent editions would feature 12 teams, the ICC said in a statement on International Women’s Day. The four previous editions have had 10 teams.

“We have a clear focus and commitment to an ambitious long-term growth plan for the women’s game,” ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said after sharing the post-2023 cycle of events. “We have been building momentum around the women’s game for the last four years investing in global broadcast coverage and marketing to drive fan engagement.”

The ICC also unveiled a six-team women’s T20 Champions Cup tournament, to be held in 2027 and 2031. The announcement comes exactly a year since Meg Lanning’s Australia beat India in the final of the Twenty20 World Cup in front of a record 86,000-plus crowd in Melbourne. The tournament in Australia also attracted record television numbers, making it the most watched women’s cricket event of all time.

“This decision to expand our women’s events builds on these foundations and allows us to give more member countries greater opportunities to compete on a global stage,” Sawhney said. “This means that more teams will also get the opportunity to compete in the qualification pathways for the respective ICC events over the coming years.”

New Zealand hosts the next ODI World Cup, featuring eight teams, in 2022. The tournament could not be held this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.