By John L. Aaron
American women’s cricket needs it! Canadian women’s cricket needs it! What is it? It is more playing opportunities for women cricketers in North America. This coming weekend four groups of women cricketers will invade Toronto, Canada to fight for an opportunity to show why there should be equity in the sport for women.
Last winter Saima Ashraf of the Alberta Strikers Cricket Club, saw the need for more playing opportunities for women cricketers and providing better playing conditions, while creating excitement and buzz on the women’s cricket calendar in Canada. Thus the idea of a Canada Day Cricket Cup for women was born.
The T20 tournament scheduled for June 30 – July 2 will not only provide an opportunity for women players in Canada and the USA to play in an organized tournament, but it will provide a platform for camaraderie and goodwill among the players. The event is being staged at Ross Lord Park in Toronto, Canada with matches starting at 9:00 am each day.
Tranzac Cricket Club, Toronto District Cricket Association (TDCA), Alberta Strikers Cricket Club, Cricket Ontario, and sponsorship by several individuals, gave the tournament legs. TDCA, the largest cricket league in Canada made it possible for the fixture to be calendared in between a very hectic men’s and boy’s 2018 cricket calendar and the use of playing facilities. The tournament has the blessing of Cricket Canada, however, the organizers are still hoping to attract additional sponsorship to cover the myriad of expenses associated with such an undertaking.
The Canada Day Cricket Cup has attracted four teams, including one from the USA comprising players from that country and Canada. Titled JAJA Jaguars, the squad has been organized by women’s cricket advocates Julie Abbott of CanAm United, John Aaron of Atlantis Cricket Club – NY and USA national player Delkash Shahriarian. The other participating teams are Alberta Strikers, with players from Edmonton, Fort McMurray and Calgary, and two Cricket Ontario teams, comprising players from Toronto and the Greater Toronto area. Each team will play three matches in a round-robin format, with the two top teams facing off in the championship final and the remaining two playing for third-place.
Ironically, the women’s tournament will be taking place during the inaugural Canada Global T20 in Toronto, and no doubt the women players will have an opportunity to catch some of the men’s cricket action while in Canada.
According to Durriya Shabbir, one of the tournament’s principal organizers, “The significance of choosing Canada Day – July 1st for hosting this tournament is to truly celebrate core Canadian values of fairness, empowerment and gender equality. As a leading global sport, cricket captivates and inspires people of every age, gender, background and ability while building bridges between continents, countries and communities,” adding, “With this tournament, our vision is to create a platform that will eventually allow Canadian women to compete with different teams from different regions, raise their level of cricket skills and build their confidence. Our hope is that in the years to come this tournament will be a pivotal competition in the Women’s Cricket Calendar of member countries in the ICC Americas region, and beyond.”