The second edition of the Women’s Big Bash League has only just started, but Melbourne Renegades and New Zealand wicketkeeper Rachael Priest believes the tournament has already raised the standard of the game worldwide.
While franchise-based T20 competitions have been bringing the best male players in the world together in new environments for years now, last summer’s WBBL|01 was a first for the women’s game.
Newfound friendships and knowledge from the tournament are likely to add a new dynamic to next year’s ICC Women’s World Cup in England, with players more familiar with each other than ever before.
Priest, who took over captaincy of the Renegades this summer, is predicting the WBBL will make for even closer contests between international teams.
“The matches are getting closer and the standard is rising in the game because we are bouncing ideas of each and that’s why the women game needs,” Priest told bigbash.com.au.
“It is as close to international cricket as you can get, which is so special for young players to dream about and set goals to.”
Brisbane Heat and Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ batter Beth Mooney says she is looking forward to learning from rising India star most Smriti Mandhana this summer, hoping it will enhance and help her understand different aspects of her game.
“It’s a massive thing for women’s cricket to have players coming from all over the world like West Indies and now India,” Mooney told bigbash com.au.
“We can all learn from each other It’s only going to bolster the women cricket around the world and more so in Australia as well.
“The more people we can get from around the world is important, tapping into the market in subcontinent is massive.
“They talk about cricket over there as a religion. To have the best players in there team to be part of the WBBL is great for us.”
The rivalry between Australia and New Zealand has always been fierce, but White Ferns and Perth Scorchers skipper Suzie Bates says the WBBL has allowed her to get to know the people behind the cricketers.
“When I first started playing we were only playing against England and Australia and we hated them because we only saw them on the field," Bates said.
“We didn’t know them as people until you play alongside those girls.
“(England star) Katherine Brunt comes out and has a bit of white line fever and that’s all you see.
“Now playing alongside her, you love to see that other side of that your competitors.
“Learning how the English do it, how the Australians do it. It is only going to make the game stronger.”
Since the first edition of the WBBL last summer, England have launched their own club-based T20 competition, while there’s been a push for a women’s Indian Premier League.
For many of the emerging cricketers, the WBBL has presented them an opportunity to witness how different players prepare for the game from close up.
Bright prospects such as Amanda Wellington and Tahlia McGrath can pick the brains of legends such as England Charlotte Edwards in the Adelaide Strikers dressing room.
England quick Brunt believes Australia has played a pivotal role in bringing the game together and also raising the standard of cricket.
“It teaches you to be versatile, playing in different conditions," Brunt said.
“Cricketing in general seems to be kicking off and you guys in Australia are setting the trend for the world to follow.”