Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday said he is excited about the ICC Women's World Cup scheduled later this year as the multi- nation event will play a significant role in globalising the game.
"The inclusion of Thailand in World Cup cricket may be a surprise for some of you but it is a reality! Thailand will be bidding to feature in this year's ICC Women's World Cup when it will play in the Qualifiers in Colombo next week," Tendulkar wrote in a column for the ICC.
"Subsequently, the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 in the United Kingdom in June-July will see top notch cricket being played by some of the finest and exemplary women cricketers from across the world," he added.
The former batsman said expansion of women's cricket is also a catalyst for gender equality and rights.
"The women cricketers have caught the fancy of cricket aficionados around the world with stellar performances and have increased their audience.
"They have spawned interest in young girls to play the sport and also helping generate a larger following for the game at a time when the game is seeking to expand its footprint globally and become relevant in non-cricket playing countries," he said.
"While gender bias has been the bane of many aspects of the world, the sports narrative seems to be different. It is heartening to see that cricket is making strides in helping women occupy their pride of place in the annals of cricketing history," he added.
Tendulkar hoped that Indian stars such as pacer Jhulan Goswami and batter Mithali Raj will do their bit to light up the tournament.
"There is our very own Jhulan Goswami, who is quick and gets that extra bit from the wicket and Mithali Raj, our seasoned campaigner from India," he said.
"Talents like Bismah Maroof, Sana Mir (both Pakistan), Mignon du Preez, Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp (South Africa) are also exciting for the game and have their own following," he added.
"I wish all the teams the very best for the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers and would urge all of you to wholeheartedly support women's cricket, for the sake of cricket."