London: Former South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis is elated on womens T20 cricket being included in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG) slated to be held in 2022.
Kallis reckoned the move will provide the players with much-needed exposure.
Women’s cricket is set to be part of the Birmingham CWG after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) nominated its inclusion in the 2022 edition. The nomination was made at the executive board meeting of the CGF in Birmingham last month.
“It’s fantastic news that women’s T20 cricket could be returning to the Commonwealth Games, it’s been far too long,” Kallis was quoted as saying by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Prior to this, cricket was included in the CWG just once, in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 when 16 men’s teams competed in the 50-over format.
“Even back in 1998, there was talk about the event being a 20-over competition, so it’s finally come true it seems,” he added.
Kallis also felt that the T20 format will perfectly fit in the CWG. “That format of T20 lends itself perfectly to an event like the Commonwealth Games, which is over in a couple of weeks. And cricket is so loved in the Commonwealth countries too,” Kallis opined.
“It’s a great idea to get it back in the event and give the sport and the women’s players that exposure. I just hope cricket will now establish itself at the event,” he added.
In the 1998 CWG, the Shaun Pollock-led South Africa had pipped Australia in the gold medal match and Kallis was a part of the winning squad.
Recalling the moments, Kallis said: “I was only a youngster and I just remember being really excited to get the call-up. Our team was captained by Shaun Pollock and included the likes of Makhaya Ntini, Mark Boucher and Hershelle Gibbs.
“When you look back at the team now, it was the core of players that took South Africa forward in the next few years,” Kallis said.
“When I look back on my career, that chance to play for South Africa at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur is right up there. Winning the gold gave us loads of confidence and we won the Champions Trophy in Bangladesh later that year too,” he added.
In the final, South Africa, who were chasing 183, rode Kallis’ 44-run knock off 96 balls to overhaul the target with four overs to spare.
“The final against Australia was magnificent and I’ve very fond memories of getting the gold medal. It certainly ranks right up there in all of my cricket memories,” he concluded.