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HPP Blog: Anna Harris departs for South Africa to umpire at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup

31 January 2023

Student Blog: Anna Harris - MBBCH Medicine / High Performance Programme (Cricket Umpire)

I sit down to write this having just finished packing for my month-long trip to South Africa for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. I’ve probably packed far too much, but as it’s my first World Cup I think I can forgive myself for cramming in umpteen t-shirts, socks and the necessary British food staples. Jaffa Cakes, chocolate fingers, Percy Pigs, and Colin the Caterpillar minis are my contribution to the group snack fund. Indeed, I appear to have built myself a bit of a reputation amongst UK colleagues for providing snacks! Perhaps I should  re-watch the nutrition seminar…

The World Cup will be my second ICC tournament, having travelled to Jersey last August to officiate in the Cricket World Cup Challenge League B Tournament. This does represent my first ICC Women’s Tournament though, and I am raring to go and prove myself on the world stage.

I made my debut at 22 for the England Women v New Zealand ODI series, and haven’t yet made my International T20 Debut – what a place to start! When I first started umpiring in 2016/17 I never imagined that 6-7 years later I’d be standing in International Fixtures, let alone going to my first World Cup at 24 years old.

This World Cup represents the first time that an ICC event has had an all-female officiating panel of Umpires and Match Referees, and this milestone is testament to the rise of Women’s cricket across the globe. Each umpire will have some warm-up fixtures, before 8 group-stage games; of which 4 are on-field.

The games will be broadcast on television via various providers worldwide and after the success of the last T20 World Cup in Australia (where the final was attended by over 85,000 fans) and the ODI World Cup in New Zealand, the television and ground audiences are growing larger and larger. Hopefully more women and girls will be inspired to take up a cricket bat, bowl a cricket ball or don the umpiring gear and get involved in the second-largest sport worldwide.

It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the support that Cardiff University Medical School have given me alongside the Cardiff High Performance Programme – balancing a part-time Medical degree with my International Cricket career can be a bit of a juggling act, but with the support of the school and the programme we are managing to catch each baton as it falls.

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