International Cricket Council (ICC) on Saturday announced the schedule for the Women's T20 World Cup qualifying pathway on the road to South Africa 2023.
The 10-team World Cup which has now been rescheduled to February 9-26, 2023 will see hosts South Africa and the seven top teams on the ICC women's T20I team rankings as of November 30, 2021 -- from the teams that competed in the Australia 2020 event -- qualify automatically for the 2023 edition.
The remaining two spots will be determined through a qualification process which is scheduled to start at the regional level in August 2021 and includes 37 teams. This is an increase of ten teams from the Women's T20 World Cup 2020 qualification, reflecting the continued growth of bilateral women's T20I cricket.
Eight teams Bhutan, Botswana, Cameroon, France, Malawi, Myanmar, Philippines and Turkey are all competing in an ICC women's event for the first time, a nod to the growth within women's cricket around the globe in emerging markets. Argentina and Brazil will return to ICC women's competition for the first time since 2012.
The five regions will host a regional qualifying event with the top team from each region joining the bottom two ranked teams in the women's T20I rankings as of November 30, 2021 -- from the teams that competed in the Australia 2020 event -- into the eight-team ICC Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022. The final position will be filled by the highest-ranked team in the regional qualifiers on the November cut-off date, who missed out on topping their regional event table.
Across the qualification pathway there will be an astonishing 115 Women's T20Is played in the ICC events. Alongside more regular women's international cricket it also provides teams with the opportunity to move up the ICC women's T20I team rankings.
ICC Women's Cricket Manager, Holly Colvin said: "We are delighted to be welcoming the return of cricket for ICC women's events. This is an exciting time for women's cricket with the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 raising the bar for women's sporting events.
"Sustaining and then building on the momentum from February is key and the start of the next Women's T20 World Cup qualifying pathway is a great place to start. There is lots to look forward to in the cricket scheduled with 115 women's T20 Internationals due to be played over seven months and five teams competing in their first-ever ICC Women's Qualifier."