CA to launch Women's BBL
2015-16 season targeted for new Twenty20 comp
3 May 2014, 10:53 AM AEST
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Cricket Australia will begin planning for a Women’s Big Bash League for the 2015-16 season.
The news comes hot on the heels of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ success in the Women’s ICC World T20 tournament in Bangladesh, and has the potential to add serious exposure to the women’s game domestically.
“Directors determined that management should progress planning for a women’s T20 Big Bash League with a view to launching in the 2015-16 season,” said a CA spokesperson.
“It is seen as a key plank in CA’s efforts to further professionalise the women’s game.
“Directors felt that in order to ensure a high-quality launch, the 2014-15 season would not be appropriate due to the crowded international and domestic season that includes the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“Management will now further plans to establish the league with a goal of becoming the leading women’s domestic competition in Australian sport.”
Legendary women's cricketer Belinda Clark, now a senior manager of team performance at the National Cricketer Centre, believes the concept is an extremely exciting one for the sport in general.
"It's demonstrating the evolution of the sport, and (Cricket Australia) is keen to lead the way in terms of creating a really vibrant and viable domestic women's T20 competition," Clark said.
"There's been a lot of work done in the last five years to get more international T20s on television, and the ratings of those - whether they've been matches we've had in Australia, or international matches back in Australia - have been getting stronger and stronger.
"That's given us great confidence that if we can get this right, we'll be providing a really good opportunity for our players, but also for the public to see women's cricket at this level more often."
Clark insisted that the viability of the concept could also be put down to the improved skills in women's cricket which, along with the men's game, have developed dramatically in recent times.
"The men's game has advanced and evolved at the same pace as the women's game (recently), so I think the difference is that people are noticing the women's game more now than before - but the rate of change in the sport in general is amazing, and the T20 format is a great opportunity for us to leverage that and get more girls playing."
Details such as the structure of the tournament, commercial deals, and the number of teams participating, are still to be discussed, however Clark said a mix of double-headers alongside the men's matches and standalone fixtures could be expected.
She also said that such a tournament was the perfect vehicle to demonstrate to the next generation of female sportswomen that cricket - both to play and to watch - was very much a forerunner in Australian sport.
"One of the main drivers is that young girls understand that there is a pathway for them," Clark said. "For those girls who want to play cricket, this is a viable option for them to aim to, and for those who want to watch cricket, they'll have a choice of watching good competitions in both males and females."
Southern Stars allrounder Ellyse Perry has previously stated her enthusiasm for the concept, telling news.com.au last year: "I think it is at a really exciting point where there are a lot of opportunities going forward to make sure that we continue to grow the game and hopefully something like that down the track is possible.