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England's Heather Knight and Kate Cross during the ODI series against Australia at the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol on Wednesday. Image Credit: Reuters

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday announced equal prize money for both men’s and women’s events at ICC events.

The decision was taken at the ICC Annual Conference in Durban, South Africa. “This is a significant moment in the history of our sport, and I am delighted that men’s and women’s cricketers competing at ICC global events will now be rewarded equally,” said ICC Chair Greg Barclay.

“Since 2017 we have increased prize money at women’s events every year with a clear focus on reaching equal prize money and from here on in, winning the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will carry the same prize money as winning the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and the same for T20 World Cups and U19s too.

“Cricket is genuinely a sport for all and this decision from the ICC Board reinforces that and enables us to celebrate and value every single player’s contribution to the game equally.”

Strategic investment

The ICC Board also confirmed the largest ever investment into the sport after the distribution model for the next four years was agreed. Every ICC member will receive significantly enhanced funding with a strategic investment fund ring-fenced to drive global growth initiatives in line with the ICC Global Growth Strategy.

“The success of our media rights and commercial programme for our next four-year cycle means we are able to invest more money than ever before into our sport,” Barclay added.

The ICC Board also approved changes to ICC Sanctioning Regulations designed to support all members to create sustainable revenue streams and develop the game whilst preserving and protecting the integrity of the sport and the welfare of those participating. Moving forward, new events requiring a sanction will need to ensure the playing XI of each team will include a minimum of seven local or associate member players to support the development of the game. Additionally, a solidarity fee will be payable from the organising member to the home board of a player to reflect the role the member played in developing and promoting the sport globally.

Over-rate sanctions

The Chief Executives’ Committee approved changes to over-rate sanctions in Test cricket to balance the need for over-rates to be maintained and ensure players are appropriately remunerated. As such players will be fined 5 per cent of their match fee for each over short up to a maximum of 50 per cent. If a team is bowled out before the new ball is due at 80 overs, there will be no over-rate penalty applied even if there is a slow over rate. This replaces the current 60 over threshold.

ICC men’s cricket committee Sourav Ganguly said: “The ICC World Test Championship has injected renewed energy into Test cricket giving it compelling context. In the last edition we only had 12 draws in 69 matches, and we want to ensure that trend continues whilst we’re giving fans the best value for money and keeping over-rates up.

“The men’s cricket committee felt strongly that over-rate penalties in the form of WTC points deductions should remain but recommended that players should not have 100 per cent of their match fee at risk. We believe this provides a balance between maintaining over-rates and ensuring we are not deterring players from playing Test cricket.

The CEC agreed this amendment would be retrospective and applied from the start of the current World Test Championship cycle.