Six highest-placed teams in the International Cricket Council rankings as on April 1, 2021 along with hosts England will get direct qualification for the women’s T20 competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The ICC and the Commonwealth Games Federation unveiled the qualification process for the event on Wednesday.

Women’s cricket will be a part of the Commonwealth Games for the first time ever when the 2022 edition gets underway in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8. It will only be the second time that cricket will feature in the event after a men’s competition was part of the Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

“Besides England, six other highest ranked teams in ICC Women’s T20I Rankings as of April 1 next year will also qualify directly for the eight-team tournament, which will be held in Edgbaston,” the ICC said in a statement.

The remaining one place will be allocated to the winner of a Commonwealth Games Qualifier, the format and details of which will be announced in due course. The deadline for the Qualifier is January 31, 2022.

The Indian women’s team is currently placed third in the ICC T20I standings behind England and they are well placed to qualify directly.

Since athletes from the Caribbean will be representing their countries and not the West Indies (as they are affiliated with the ICC), the winner of a designated qualifying tournament will decide which country gets to compete if the West Indies get a slot, the release said.

“Cricket at the Commonwealth Games is a fantastic opportunity for us to continue to grow the women’s game globally,” ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said in the release.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin said: “We are absolutely delighted to have women’s T20 cricket debut at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Cricket has always been one of the Commonwealth’s most popular sports and it is so special to have it back at our Games for the first time since the men’s competition at Kuala Lumpur”