Southern Stars hero Ellyse Perry believes the just-concluded Women’s Ashes is a blueprint for future international women’s cricket, after the ECB announced record crowds for the six-week series.
Playing in front of sell-out crowds in the WT20 internationals at the County Ground, Chelmsford, and the BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground, Hove, Perry said the atmosphere made the series a particularly special one.
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“More than anything, I think this series in terms of how women’s cricket has progressed, has just been unbelievable,” Perry told Sky Sports post-match.
“The crowds at each game – to sell out matches, we’ve never done that before.
“It speaks volumes for the tremendous work that England Cricket are doing, and also the England team, I think they’re genuine stars and the way that they play cricket is fantastic and we love the contest.
— Meg Lanning (@meglanning7) August 28, 2015
“It’s our turn this time to be winners, but they’ve played some great cricket to, so overall it’s been a wonderful series.”
“I certainly enjoy the atmosphere. I’d love to be playing in front of a home crowd with that kind of emphasis and support behind you.
“It just makes the game really exciting.
“To be honest, coming out and playing in front of a crowd like that, it doesn’t make you feel like a women’s cricketer – it just makes you feel like a cricketer and you’re here to entertain.
“A lot of the time at home we don’t have the same kinds of crowds as this, it’s mainly family and friends.
— Southern Stars (@SouthernStars) August 28, 2015
“So to have that has been so special and it’s a series I’m going to remember for a long time.
“Hopefully it’s a benchmark that we can move forward to with women’s cricket. A lot of the credit goes to the ECB and the England team for the work they’ve done to make it such a special series.”
Cricket Australia executive general manager for team performance Pat Howard said that the governing body may look to mimic the English model of playing women’s internationals at smaller venues, such as North Sydney Oval, Hurstville Oval in southern Sydney and Canberra’s Manuka Oval.
"There are a few games coming up where we can do what's happened here, which is a real compliment to the ECB on what we've seen in Taunton and Bristol," Howard told Fairfax media. "For us to be able to get those (kinds of crowds) is going to be a really positive part of how we grow the game."
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Throughout the women’s Ashes summer, almost 22,000 fans have attended matches, a figure that included peaks of 3,450 and 5,750 in Chelmsford and Hove this week for the T20 fixtures.
The previous high watermark for women’s cricket was set during the 2013 Women’s Ashes, when 18,000 spectators attended the multi-format series.
“It’s absolutely brilliant news that every summer more and more people are buying tickets to watch the England women’s team play,” said ECB director of England Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor.
“This represents a clear measure of how the women’s game is continuously growing, and I hope that the thousands of women and girls who have come along and watched a Women’s Ashes match this summer have been inspired to play cricket themselves.
“The quality of some of the cricket that has been on show during the series has been world class. Increasingly international women’s cricket is becoming a real spectacle, and my thanks to all the host venues for their hard work in delivering the matches to such a professional level.”