The International Cricket Council (ICC) has marked International Women's Day by announcing the expansion of the women's World Cup post the 2023 cycle.
More teams will compete in both the ICC Women’s ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup from 2026 onwards as part of the ICC’s long-term commitment to growing the game globally and in a sustainable fashion.
The decision seeks to encourage more teams to compete on the global stage and provide member nations with an incentive to grow the game domestically.
"We have been building momentum around the women's game for the last four years investing in global broadcast coverage and marketing to drive fan engagement," said ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney in a statement.
"The results speak for themselves with the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 attracting record numbers, 1.1 billion video views...," he added.
That was the most watched women's cricket event of all time and 86,174 fans attended the final at the MCG, a record attendance.
"This decision to expand our women's events builds on these foundations and allows us to give more member countries greater opportunities to compete on a global stage," Sawhney added.
The revised structure will be as follows:
New Zealand hosts the next ODI World Cup, featuring eight teams, in 2022. The tournament could not be held this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
(With inputs from PTI, Reuters)