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World Cup - some key questions before it starts?

Whose World Cup will this one be? Not just who lifts the trophy. Who will embody the spirit of CWC 2022?

We know for certain that New Zealand will be brilliant hosts to all those involved on and off the pitch. That’s a given. They’ll be their usual gracious, charming and welcoming kiwi selves - although i should admit bias here having had the privilege of working with the White Ferns a few summers ago.

What I mean is - who will capture our hearts? In the way that many of us fell in love with the Thailand team in Australia in 2020. Captivated by the technical skill levels and the pure joy they exuded. Could Bangladesh play a similarly pivotal role in this 50 over World Cup?

If you haven’t yet watched a documentary called “The Record” about the narratives of the Australian T20 World Cup I would recommend it highly. Ironically it features Thailand heavily. A team probably prevented from being in New Zealand by the wicked hand of COVID intervening to cut short the qualifying competition - we’ll never know.

When we look back on this edition of the ICC Women’s World Cup which “skill department” will have dominated, or indeed, made the greatest impact? Or will the cup’s legacy appear in the shape of individuals or individual performances?

As the unofficial cheerleader of the none existent Point Fielders Union, my personal wish is for some spectacular diving catches and match changing run-outs from those players stationed at my favourite fielding slot.

Will it be the “older and wiser heads” or will it be the “no fear” youngsters who set the World Cup on fire?

Who is hoping for a swan song or last hurrah to top a shining career?

Who will be featured in the iconic photos that emerge and that become, somehow, etched in our memories in the longer term?

As the recent @Crickether vodcast pointed out - which team will inflict the first upset? And, more importantly, what will the consequences be for them and those that may have relied on a particular result? Hopefully, the round-robin format ensures each team tests themselves equally against every other side - rather than the sometimes random dynamics of a group stage.

When India beat the hosts in the ICC T20 World Cup in the opener in 2020 it blew the whole competition wide open. Remember also that The White Ferns only fell 4 runs short of knocking out Australia and snatching that semi-final slot over their Rose-bowl colleagues. We also saw some nail-biting finishes in the 50 over comp in England in 2017 that could’ve made for some fascinating what-ifs.

Who’s batting, bowling, fielding, tactics …(or all of the above) will guarantee them a place in their respective Commonwealth Games T20 side? The July - Aug tournament in Birmingham will feature a similar lineup with the addition of Sri Lanka, and Barbados representing the Caribbean - although without the presence of Bangladesh.

Time to look forwards with excitement to this ICC tournament and the future of the game we’re all so passionate about. Especially with one eye on the women’s U19 World Cup around the corner in January 2023 - a month before the women's T20 tournament in South Africa. And, on the other hand, being conscious of those players we won’t see playing in the next few weeks.

Which women will get the cricketing world’s attention at this World Cup?

Who will give us the “Alice Capsey on her Lords debut in the Hundred” performance in New Zealand?

Which of the Young Guns will “ ‘do a Wongi’ in the WBBL” by crashing 6s at the back end of an innings?

Who will bowl a “ball of the century” as Shikha Pandey did?

Who will take a Harleen Deol type boundary-defying catch?

Who will wind up the crowd’s excitement to fever pitch as Dane Van Niekerk did at the Oval last summer?

CWC2022 will have its place in the history books as the first time an ICC Cricket World Cup has been officiated by an 8 to 7 majority of female officials - umpires and match referees. Great news for the visibility of women as roles models beyond the playing/coaching pathways.

We have all these questions yet to answer. The first challenge, however, for those of us in this part of the globe, is to contemplate the logistics of living nocturnally until early April.

It’s going to be an amazing spectacle… Alarm clock, anyone?

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