Dubai, May 3 (UNI) ICC President Ehsan Mani believes the next two Women's World Cups, in Australia in 2009 and India four years later, will take the sport to a new level.
''This is an exciting time for the women's game and the fact the venues for the next two World Cups have now been decided is a further illustration of that fact.'' ''Both tournaments will benefit from the increased financial and logistical support that we can offer as the worldwide governing body. And, on top of that, there will be the extra exposure and profile that comes with being an ICC Event,'' he said.
''Those factors will combine to make both tournaments the best ever in the history of women's cricket and they will ensure the game is taken to a new level,'' the ICC chief added.
The World Cups will be the first to be played under the ICC's auspices after it merged with the International Women's Cricket Council last year.
The women's World Cup will return to India in 2013 after a gap of 16 years and captain Mithali Raj was ecstatic at the prospect of the tournament taking place in her homeland.
''It's fantastic that the Women's World Cup will be held in India. Having the World Cup here will be very beneficial as it will create an even greater awareness of women's cricket than already exists,'' she said.
''The media are a great support to women's cricket in India and coverage of the World Cup will take the game to every corner of the country. And as a result of the exposure the tournament will provide, we are extremely hopeful that it will lead to a significant increase in women playing the game in India,'' she added.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said, ''We will be looking to showcase the women's game to the world in 2009.'' ''The tournament is a good platform to keep driving the growth of the game and increasing participation and interest among females, which is a priority for Australian cricket over the next few years.'' Australia captain Karen Rolton added, ''We are honoured to be hosting the event in 2009 and the Australian team is certainly looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd as we try to defend the World Cup title.'' ''I was only 14 years old when Australia hosted the 1988 World Cup, but I have heard about how that was a source of inspiration for young girls in the country to start playing cricket. Hopefully we can generate a similar result over the coming years.'' ''Having played World Cups in India, New Zealand and South Africa, it is great that we have the chance to now play on home soil and also get some certainty with where the (next two) tournaments will be staged.'' she added.
The Women's World Cup has been running for longer than the men's version and was first staged in England in 1973, when it was won by the hosts who beat Australia by 118 runs in the final at Edgbaston.
Since then there have been a further seven tournaments with Australia winning five of them (1978, 1982, 1988, 1997 and 2005), England winning once more (in 1993) and New Zealand triumphing in 2000.
The tournament has been staged twice each in England (1973 and 1993), India (1978 and 1997) and New Zealand (1982 and 2000) as well as Australia (1988) and South Africa (2005).
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