South African skipper Cri-Zelda
Brits believes that her side’s participation in the ICC World Twenty20 2009
alongside Graeme Smith’s Proteas will help women’s cricket reach new audiences.
It was announced today that for the
first time in ICC history an eight-team women’s tournament will take place
alongside a 12-team men’s event in England
in 2009, just months after the completion of the ICC Women’s World Cup in Australia, in a
move that will bring unprecedented exposure to the women’s game.
Both semi-finals and the final of
the women’s event will take place on the same day and at the same venues as the
men’s finals. It is hoped that huge crowds at Trent Bridge, The Oval and Lord’s
will watch some of the leading global stars in action in these matches, while
good crowds are expected for the group games that will be played at Taunton.
"Playing in the ICC World Twenty20
will help gain greater exposure for women’s cricket and open up a lot of doors
to women’s cricketers," said 24-year-old Brits.
"It is really important for us that
more people get an opportunity to see us playing as that will generate more
interest in the sport.
"To be part of such a big event and
play alongside the men in an ICC event will be a landmark in my cricketing
"It will be great to experience
everything that the men go through when they are playing at a big event."
Brits, whose side are currently
preparing for a tour of England
in July and August, where they will also take on Ireland,
is hopeful that her side will be capable of making it through a tough group
which has pitted them against Australia,
New Zealand and the West Indies.
"If we could get to the semi-final
stage it would be amazing. That’s the type of goal that we have made part of
our team plan to help motivate us in our training. It would great to be in the
semis and play in front of a full stadium.
And she admitted that the
opportunity to be in the spotlight both at the ICC World Twenty20 2009 and at
the ICC Women’s World Cup, which takes place in Australia in March 2009, is one
that her team is relishing.
"I’ve played in a televised game
before, but some of the girls are keen to have a chance to do that for the
first time," said Brits.
"It’s amazing we have the chance to
step up to this level and benefit from the experience of playing in front of