THE Women's Twenty20 Cricket World Cup starts in Taunton today.

Last weekend I attended a reception at the County Ground to welcome the teams to Somerset.

Cricket really does have the ability to unite people from difference continents, races and cultures.

The best female cricketers from England, Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will all be in action at the County Ground.

It is fantastic that Taunton is hosting an international tournament.

Cricket helps to put our county town on the map, with all-time greats from the men's game, like Somerset captain Justin Langer, also playing here.

Hosting the Women's Twenty20 Cricket World Cup is a reward for the vision and leadership of Somerset County Cricket Club.

The new County Ground also looks fantastic, and it points the way for similar ambitious forward-thinking across Taunton Deane.

I am excited by the proposed refurbishment of Castle Green, the development of Firepool and the potential of Somerset College.

I hope we will make all the visiting cricket teams very welcome in Taunton Deane and the matches will be well supported.

And I am confident, when the Women's Twenty20 reaches its finale at Lord's along with the men's final on Sunday 21 June, England captain Charlotte Edwards will be holding aloft the trophy.