Sport: Knight: Commonwealth Games can be cricket's showcase for Olympics

Queen will NOT attend Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham next week

  Queen will NOT attend Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Birmingham next week The decision will be a blow for the long-reigning monarch, who has always held the Commonwealth Games close to her heart and was present the last time they were held in the UK in 2014. It comes as the 96-year-old has taken a step back from attending some events in an official capacity over the last few months as she deals with 'mobility issues'. However she did attend her Platinum Jubilee celebrations at the beginning of June and as recently as this week was still performing her royal duties despite the sweltering heatwave that gripped the country.

Heather Knight admits England's Twenty20 team can help push cricket towards being an Olympic sport again.

England start their three-match T20 programme with South Africa in Chelmsford on Thursday holding an unassailable 8-2 lead in the multi-format series, but the skipper is already thinking about the impact playing at the Commonwealth Games could have for the sport as a whole.

England captain Heather Knight says women's cricket being involved at the Commonwealth Games is a 'game-changer' England captain Heather Knight says women's cricket being involved at the Commonwealth Games is a 'game-changer'

Knight's side swept the ODI matches 3-0 and South Africa can only level the series by producing their own T20 whitewash, with the action beginning live on Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event on Thursday from 6.30pm.

Commonwealth Games can be ‘game changer’ for women’s cricket – Heather Knight

  Commonwealth Games can be ‘game changer’ for women’s cricket – Heather Knight England take on South Africa in three T20 matches before the Commonwealth Games gets under way.England start their three-match T20 programme with South Africa in Chelmsford on Thursday holding an 8-2 lead in the multi-format series.

But women's cricket will be involved at the Commonwealth Games for the first time at Birmingham, with the tournament due to get under way on July 29, and Knight believes it is a "game-changer".

Beaumont stars as England secure ODI series sweepLatest cricket videos & highlightsLive cricket on Sky Sports | Sky Sports Cricket YouTube channel

Knight said: "It is a chance for us as a sport to reach some people we haven't reached before. A huge stage to show what we can do.

"The platform to reach so many people is there, so our job is to be successful and show the skills that we have.

"It's massive how much women's cricket has changed and this could be another game-changer in terms of reaching new people and a different level."

A men's cricket competition was held at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, with South Africa taking gold by beating Australia in the final.

Scottish cricket found to be 'institutionally racist' by independent review

  Scottish cricket found to be 'institutionally racist' by independent review An independent review into racism in Scottish cricket has found the governance and leadership practices of Cricket Scotland to be institutionally racist. Independent investigators have now published the details of their findings. © SNS Cricket Scotland has been accused of being "institutionally racist" They found 448 indicators of institutional racism. Of 31 'tests' used to measure the problem, Cricket Scotland - the game's governing body - failed on 29 and only partially met the required standard on the remaining two.

The only Olympic cricket competition was at Paris 1900 when only two countries took part and Great Britain overcame hosts France to win gold.

Asked if cricket could become part of the Olympics, Knight said: "Potentially. Long after I've retired it might well happen.

"I think T20 would be the format, like it is in the Commonwealths, and the conversation would have to be had about schedules.

"There's a lot in the schedule and something would have to give to get it in there with other events going on.

"The balance needs to be found and (the women's game) does allow for that.

"The men are slightly different. I look at the schedules they have and wonder, 'How do they be a human being as well as a cricketer?'.

"But I see no reason why it can't happen, especially for it to open up a different audience for cricket around the world."

England have named the same 15-player squad for the South Africa series and the Commonwealth Games, with Knight saying the thought of playing at a multi-games event has given her "goosebumps".

Everyone needs a second team: The countries to never win a Commonwealth Games medal

  Everyone needs a second team: The countries to never win a Commonwealth Games medal Australia has won almost as many Commonwealth Games medals than there are people in the Falkland Islands, one of 10 countries we take a look at to never medal at the Games.Australia is one of 72 teams and countries set to compete at the XII Commonwealth Games, beginning on Friday.

"It is something completely different," said Knight, who wants to attend athletics' 100m finals or cycling's road races in Birmingham if her schedule allows.

"We went to kitting out the other day and it was a brand new experience.

"To see pictures of outstanding athletes on the wall who have competed for Team England got the goosebumps going.

"It made the girls realise how different it was going to be and excited for what's to come."

Teenagers Alice Capsey and Freya Kemp are among those in a youthful-looking T20 squad, with experienced opener Tammy Beaumont the notable omission.

Beaumont, a veteran of 99 T20 internationals, responded to her omission by hammering 119 from 107 balls in England's third ODI victory against South Africa on Monday.

Knight said: "I knew she would get a hundred, knowing Tammy's character she would have wanted to prove a point.

"Tammy's ODI form is undisputable. She's one of the best players in the world and has been for a long time.

"But we just felt we wanted to be more aggressive in that T20 powerplay.

"At the moment we've gone down the line of the ultra-aggressive players who can really take the game on at the front end when there's only two fielders outside.

Watch the first T20 international between England and South Africa, live on Sky Sports Cricket & Sky Sports Main Event on Thursday. Coverage begins at 6.30pm, with the first ball at 7pm.

Aussie Commonwealth Games gold medallists won't receive ANY prizemoney .
Australia's gold medallists at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham won't receive any prizemoney - unlike other competing nations who pay their champions as much as $36,000. A spokesman for Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) confirmed there is no medal incentive scheme for Aussie athletes who finish first in individual or team events over the next fortnight.It is in stark contrast to the Olympics, where Aussie athletes are given $20,000 for a gold medal triumph, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. CGA chooses to spend their resources on investing in sports as opposed to financially rewarding athletes.

See also