Dubai, sep 4 (UNI) In a move to promote the women's cricket, the ICC today announced that it will launch a Reliance Mobile ODI Player Rankings system for women later this year.
The player rankings, which will initially apply to ODI cricket only, will help to identify where the leading players stand in women's international cricket and create further competition and context to their achievements.
Players such as Charlotte Edwards of England, Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami of India, Nicola Browne of New Zealand and Australia's Lisa Sthalekar are expected to feature highly in the ratings, which will be launched as part of the build-up to what is expected to be one of the most exciting years in the history of the women's game in 2009.
The first set of the ratings are expected to be released in October, ahead of the eagerly awaited women's series between Australia and India. This is one of the major contests before the start of the ICC Women's World Cup in March 2009.
This will be the first time that the biggest event in women's cricket will be played under the banner of the ICC following the merger with the International Women's Cricket Council in 2005.
In June, the ICC World Twenty20 in England will include a men's and women's competition running simultaneously. The semi-finals and final of the women's event will be played at the same venue on the same day as the men's tournament, bringing unprecedented focus to the sport.
Many of the players have backed the development of the rankings, believing it will generate greater interest in the women's game.
Indian fast bowler and ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year 2007 Jhulan Goswami added her support to the initiative.
''If there are rankings for women it will be a fantastic thing,'' said Goswami. ''I am really looking forward to following the rankings to see who is coming first and second in the list.
''It will increase the competition amongst the players, as everyone will want to be the number-one player,'' she added.
England captain Charlotte Edwards believes that the introduction of the rankings is timely ahead of an important year for women's cricket in 2009.
''The introduction of a player rankings system for women's ODI cricket is another positive step forward for our game,'' said Edwards.
''We have two major international events next year and we need to make sure that women's cricket uses them to raise the profile of the game to a new audience and promote some of the stars in international cricket,'' she said.
Australia vice-captain Sthalekar also joined in for the support of the move and said, ''Previously we have only had player of the series awards at major events and the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year at the ICC Awards to give us any indication of who the best players in the women's game are.
''I really welcome the introduction of these rankings as it will generate a lot of interest and competition amongst players and provide an additional context and challenge for each series. Not only will you want to help your team win the series but you will also want to improve your own individual ranking,'' she added.
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