With Birmingham 2022 a little over two years away, Birmingham born cricketer Amy Jones is excited by the opportunity to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games with all matches taking place at her home ground of Edgbaston.
“I grew up playing in the indoor school at Edgbaston and that is where I learnt to play cricket, so to be able to represent England at the Commonwealth Games at Edgbaston would just be an incredible feeling.”
This will only be the second time cricket is in the Commonwealth Games, following a brief appearance in the 1998 games in Kuala Lumpur, where South Africa won men’s gold in a 50-over matches. But this is the first-time women will be competing at the games and the first time the matches will be completed in the Twenty20 format.
“I think it will be huge for women’s cricket, obviously we’ve seen the popularity get better and better every year and the recent Women’s T20 World Cup Final with Katy Perry singing to 80,000 people I think women’s cricket is in a brilliant place at the moment. Taking it to the Commonwealth Games just takes it up another level.”
Having cruelly missed out on the T20 World Cup Final due to rain abandoning play during their semi-final against India in Australia, the Commonwealth Games tournament will host some of the strongest world cricket teams once again. A number of the big cricketing nations, such as Australia, India as well as England are involved once again within the Commonwealth movement.
“The standard will be so high; I think the top six teams in the world are all going to be there and then obviously some others which play in the T20 World Cup as well. It will be like another T20 World Cup, it’s a chance to come away with gold and put right what didn’t go well for us at the World Cup. It’s another shot at it for us and surely Birmingham will provide the sun.”
Speaking from Perth, Australia where she was playing in the Australian domestic T20 league the Big Bash. Jones had her first experience as a potential Team England athlete joining a virtual athlete kit panel, where 23 athletes from 17 of the 19 Commonwealth Sports took part in the first discussions for the 2022 kit. This was on the back of the announcement that Kukri would be kit suppliers for Team England for the third consecutive Commonwealth cycle after Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.
“It was great to be a part of it. Obviously, being a cricketer it’s not anything that I’ve been involved with before in terms of seeing all the different athletes and getting a feel of what the Commonwealth Games are like with the kit and then talking about the village and podium ceremonies.”
Whether it is putting on a Warwickshire or England shirt, Jones embraces the importance of what a shirt means and represents,
“When you look around the changing room and everyone has got it on, you get a real sense of pride and it’s a huge honour. It is something that is going to stick out for us cricketers going into the Commonwealth Games, that we are going to be competing for a gold for us as our cricket team but also for Team England which is something we have never experienced and something that the girls will really embrace.”