The ECB are today delighted to confirm that England Women will host West Indies in five Vitality IT20s at the Incora County Ground, Derby in September.
At the initial outset of the COVID-19, the organisation reiterated their commitment to their women’s and girls’ agenda, and made international cricket for England Women a key objective to deliver during the pandemic.
The five-match series will be played behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment. It will replace scheduled series against India and South Africa after both teams were unavailable to travel due to COVID-19.
The third IT20 on Saturday September 26 will be simulcast live on the BBC and Sky Sports, the first time women’s international cricket in the UK has been on free-to-air television since the 1993 Women’s World Cup final.
Monday September 21: 1st Vitality IT20, England v West Indies (Sky Sports)
Wednesday September 23: 2nd Vitality IT20, England v West Indies (Sky Sports)
Saturday September 26: 3rd Vitality IT20, England v West Indies (Sky Sports, BBC)
Monday September 28: 4th Vitality IT20, England v West Indies (Sky Sports)
Wednesday September 30: 5th Vitality IT20, England v West Indies (Sky Sports)
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “Protecting the momentum of the women’s game was one of our four stated aims right at the beginning of the pandemic in March and I’m delighted that, despite the enormous difficulties that COVID-19 has created, we’ll see England Women in action this summer.
“It has been critical to us that our efforts to deliver bio-secure standards and support visiting opponents have been equal to those that have so successfully delivered in the England Men’s series. We are immensely grateful to the team at Derby who have supported this ambition throughout the summer with testing and now delivery.
“There were 86,000 fans in attendance at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final in March and the direction of travel in the women’s game in England and Wales has been relentlessly positive over the last few years. That momentum must continue despite the challenges of COVID-19, and we do not underestimate our role in driving that agenda.”
ECB Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor, said: “It’s so pleasing after many months of work and communication with colleagues across the international game that we are now able to confirm international cricket for England Women this summer.
“We’re grateful to the West Indies for the pace and determination with which they have worked with us over the last couple of weeks.
“It’s fantastic for the visibility of the women’s game that the third IT20 will be simulcast live on the BBC and Sky Sports and I hope that it’s an event that catches the attention of some new fans.
“We’re all still adapting and will need to continue to adapt to the sporting landscape left by COVID-19. That does not mean that we will give any less focus to the women’s and girls’ game and we’re totally committed to continuing our ambitions in that area.”
The confirmation of the schedule has necessitated a change in date for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy Final, which will now be played on Sunday September 27.
England currently have 24 players in their training group, all 24 will be available for the first two rounds of Rachael Heyhoe Flint fixtures on Saturday August 29 and Monday August 31.
The squad will be reduced ahead of the series itself, leaving those not selected to return to their regional teams for the final round of Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the final.