Southern stars in the frame for lucrative women’s Twenty20 league

Some of Australia’s best female cricketers including Alex Blackwell, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy, are expected to be targeted to compete in an international women’s T20 competition planned for Asia next year and could allow them to earn as much as $US40,000 in 10 days.
Nanjing Night Net

In the week when the triumphant NSW Breakers were honoured at Government House by NSW Governor David Hurley for winning their 10th consecutive national league title, news emerged the Women’s International Cricket League [WICL], a privately run organisation, planned to be launched in either Singapore or Hong Kong in 2016.

The WICL, headed by Australian businessman Shaun Martyn and former Australian player Lisa Sthalekar, intend to recruit the world’s top 78 players to compete in a tournament that would include triple-headers and line-ups consisting of stars from the major cricket nations playing alongside recruits from Nepal, USA, Hong Kong,Thailand, China, Bhutan and Singapore.

Martyn, who has been working on the project for the past two years, insisted he was not launching a Kerry Packer World Series Cricket-like raid and revealed his desire was to work with the International Cricket Council to help women’s cricket attain a similar profile to female golf and tennis.

“Everything we do is built around opportunity,education and performance,” he said. “All the WICL is trying to do is create an opportunity for the women where one doesn’t exist.

“We have ongoing discussions with the ICC and we’re working closely with boards around the world to ensure they understand what we’re doing. From day one we’ve made it clear we want to work within the system and provide a percentage of our profits to the ICC for the development of the women’s game.

“They view us with some trepidation because we’re private but the people in our organisation – Lisa, Geoff Lawson, Tony Wright from Oracle (software), myself,  Paul Harvey – we’ve all had a long history in cricket and we’re definitely not at a rebel standpoint.”

Cricket Australia plans to launch its Women’s Big Bash T20 League and while the nation’s top players recently received improved contracts Martyn was adamant he offered “additional opportunity” and not “competition” to the governing bodies.

“I strongly believe we have to create a proper product around women’s cricket,” he said. “We genuinely believe we can do what’s been done for women’s golf and tennis with cricket because the quality of the athlete, the quality of the human involved, is unbelievable.”

Sthalekar, who retired as one of the sport’s best players after she helped Australia win the 2013 World Cup, said female players deserved the same opportunity as their male counterparts.

“The males get to play in T20 tournaments around the globe but the girls don’t have that opportunity,” she said. “Cricket Australia is leading the way in the domestic competition where we’ve seen international players come in and there’s also the Women’s Big Bash League they’ve mooted to get up and running.

“We’re proposing a unique, high-performance environment and while we want the best of the best a player from an associate country would play alongside an Ellyse Perry, a Suzie Bates or Charlotte Edwards and that can only be good.”

On Thursday night the 36 players who represented the Breakers during their triumphant decade became the first women’s team honoured at Government House when they were presented with pendants provided by Cricket NSW to commemorate their 10 consecutive WNCL titles.

“Because of that success you are [to young cricketers] their heroes and I know for many of you that title doesn’t sit easily – but you truly are,” said CNSW chairman, John Warn.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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