For centuries, cricket has been a game associated with England and English-controlled countries. It was and is a major sport in the UK, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and South Africa, but rarely anywhere outside these countries. While cricket organizations have done their best to promote the sport globally, it has failed to make an impact in countries where other sports are more popular.
That is bound to change, and it could happen soon. Cricket has recently emerged as a popular sport in many non-traditional cricket countries. Besides the increasing popularity in Taiwan, it has made its mark in Brazil as well. A country known for samba, carnivals, and football, no one could have predicted that cricket will ever be popular in Brazil.
It’s even more peculiar when you learn that cricket is gaining new ground in Brazil because of its female team.
Bookies usually have Brazil as the favorite in football World Cups. That’s pretty normal as the country is one of the most successful football teams of all time. However, it’s highly unusual to even see Brazil among the names on a sportsbet website about cricket. To put it simply, Brazil had no interest in cricket until now.
Over 10 years ago in 2010, Cricket Brasil wanted to spread the sport to as many children as possible. It had to start somewhere, and the organization chose a local orphanage to start. It introduced the sport to 24 kids and let the roots grow. Eleven years later, more than 5,000 children are in cricket programmes around the country.
The sport is currently taught in over 50 municipal, local, and state schools across Brazil, and it’s safe to say that a revolution is brewing.
What’s most surprising is that it may come through Brazil’s female cricket team. Cricket Brasil has issued 15 contracts to the top women players in the country. Compared to the previous years, it’s a massive jump in numbers. The women’s dream is to compete at the Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2023. For that reason, they have installed a giant clock at their centre that counts down to the World Cup.
This isn’t a surprise. As soon as the sport was introduced to Brazil 10 years ago, the women’s team has won the South American Championship 4 times out of 5 tournaments. We’re talking about an ICC-sanctioned tournament played among Brazil, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. As the most recent winner of the tournament, the all-female team will play against Canada, Argentina, and the USA in the American Qualifiers.
The winner of that tournament will book a spot in the global qualifiers with 8 teams. Two of these will progress to the T20 World Cup in 2023, and it might very well be Brazil’s female team.
According to the team itself, Brazil aims to become the next Taiwan in cricket. The first step to that goal is to get to the 2023 World Cup, which would be a huge achievement for a non-traditional cricket country.
Even if the goal isn’t reached, it would definitely be the next great story in women’s cricket. From the early start in a local orphanage, cricket moved fast across the country. It has transformed the lives of so many children, many of them now waiting for a chance to play in the World Cup.
No one could have dreamed of cricket becoming a major sport in Brazil where football is a religion. Thanks to the women’s cricket team, that’s a reality now. If they manage to book a ticket to the T20 World Cup, it would be a feat for the record books.