The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today announced that Leicestershire County Cricket Club will be one of five host grounds for the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017.

The ICC has confirmed Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Lord’s will host the competition’s 31 matches starting on June 26th next year – with the Home of Cricket set to stage the final on July 23rd.

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Leicestershire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Wasim Khan MBE said: “It is an honour and a privilege for Leicestershire County Cricket Club to be one of the hosts of the ICC Women’s World Cup when it comes to this country in 2017.

“We are currently undertaking a merger with the Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket Board and are working together to encourage more girls both to participate and watch cricket, and the ICC Women’s World Cup will help to inspire a generation of cricket lovers.

“It is a hugely exciting time for Women’s cricket with the ICC Women’s World Cup following on from the launch of the ECB Women’s Cricket Super League this summer. It is great that matches will be played in the county at Loughborough University.

“Leicestershire County Cricket Club is hosting a 50-over international between England and Pakistan this summer on Monday, June 20 and we are all looking forward to that game too.”

It will be the first time that the tournament has been held in England since 1993 when the home side beat New Zealand in the final at Lord’s, revisiting the scene of their triumph in 1973 in the first Women’s World Cup Final against Australia.

Steve Elworthy, ECB’s Director of Events said: “This is a very exciting time for the women’s game in this country and staging a Women’s World Cup here will really help drive interest and participation in women’s cricket at every level.

“It’s critical we use this event to reach out to young children in particular so we’ve moved the tournament start date to earlier in the summer – a decision which will help our host venues encourage attendance by engaging with schools in the build-up to the event.”

Clare Connor, ECB’s Director of England Women’s Cricket and Chair of the ICC Women’s Cricket Committee, said: “At a global level, the introduction of the ICC Women’s Championship has made our game more competitive and exciting than ever before. It has created global context and meaning to all our ODI series whereby the result of every match has a direct impact on qualification for next summer’s World Cup.”

“In this country, last summer’s record-breaking attendances for the Women’s Ashes series showed there is a growing audience and appetite for women’s cricket – we witnessed excellent crowds, including full houses at Chelmsford and Hove, coupled with growing media and commercial interest.

“The launch of the new Women’s Cricket Super League here later this year will give the women’s game another significant fillip and help set the stage for what promises to be a fantastic showcase for our sport next summer.”