ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
Gap between Aussies and the rest will grow: Bates
New Zealand captain Suzie Bates believes Australia's success, and investment in domestic women's cricket will drive change worldwide
11 October 2019, 11:09 AM AEST
New Zealand great Suzie Bates believes the gap between Australia's record-breaking women's ODI side and the rest of the world is only set to grow, with the world's number one batter citing the domestic foundation laid by Cricket Australia as a growth model other countries must begin to follow.
Bates is in Australia ahead of the upcoming Rebel Women's Big Bash tournament, in which she captains Adelaide Strikers, and the 32-year-old veteran of more than 230 internationals has kept a keen eye on her trans-Tasman rivals, who on Wednesday broke the women's record for consecutive ODI victories, with their 18th win rounding out a series sweep against Sri Lanka.
The White Ferns opener was on the wrong end of three of those matches in February-March this year, and as a veteran of the WBBL, has witnessed the dramatic rise of the women's game in Australia (CA) first-hand, and was full of praise for the manner in which Cricket Australia has driven that evolution.
In July 2016, CA announced it was committing $4 million to growing the female game at grassroots level, with those funds divided between the Growing Cricket for Girls Fund, and employing full-time female participation specialists across the country to provide ongoing support to clubs, associations and secondary schools.
Then in 2017, female players were included alongside male players for the first time in CA's Memorandum of Understanding, in which female players payments were increased dramatically, from $7.5 million to $55.2 million.
"They've done such a good job in the past four or five years of growing the game, not just with the Australian side but domestically," Bates told cricket.com.au.
"Being immersed in the Big Bash, and playing a bit of WNCL, I think there's a real potential that (Australia are) going to get further and further ahead; it's not just the current Australian squad but the younger players coming through creating competition for spots.
"Currently they have a very strong side and I only think that's going to continue. That's just going to ask other teams and other national cricket boards to keep stepping up and keep investing in their international sides, but I think what Australia has done so well is invest domestically, which gives you that depth and competition."
And Bates believes the flow-on effects from the revolutionary investment in the women's game are being felt beyond merely the success of the national side.
Earlier this year, New Zealand Cricket announced a major increase in payments for their nationally contracted women, up from $(NZ)10,000-$12,000, to $20,000-$34,000.
"I think it's driven England to make changes structurally with their domestic comp, and it's changed the way and probably how fast New Zealand Cricket have invested (in the women's game) just recently," she said.
"India is taking off and they've got the money to invest in the women's game if they choose to, so I think it's a good thing, and they've set the standard."