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T20 World Cup champions Australia will lead five confirmed qualifiers joining England as hosts of the inaugural Commonwealth Games women’s cricket tournament in Birmingham next year.

The Australians qualified for the T20 competition due to their world No.1 ranking on April 1 and skipper Meg Lanning praised the difficult schedule her team faced in 2022.

“Representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games will be an incredible experience and the team can’t wait to take the pitch in Birmingham next year,” said Lanning.

“It was already shaping up to be a huge year with a House of Ashes and a World Cup in New Zealand, and the Commonwealth Games take it to another level.”

The cricket program at the Games begins on July 29 and ends with the gold medal match at Edgbaston on August 7.

The qualifiers who will join England in the eight-team competition are Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and a country in the West Indies.

The winner of a qualifying event will determine which country in the Wider Caribbean region can participate, as the athletes will represent their country and not the West Indies as they would at the ICC events.

The remaining spot will be awarded to the winner of a qualifying tournament on January 31.

Cricket has featured once at the Commonwealth Games, albeit in the 50 plus format. On this occasion, Australia won the silver medal in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 under the leadership of Steve Waugh

Australian Associated Press

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