The best female cricketers from around the world will descend on Australia this summer for the first ever season of the Women's Big Bash League.
The full fixture and first major player signings for WBBL season one were announced in Sydney today, with 59 matches to be played in 51 days over the summer holidays.
Eight of those matches, including the final on January 24, will be broadcast live and free on Network Ten's ONE, underlining the exciting new era for women's cricket in Australia.
The WBBL will feature eight clubs - aligned with the eight clubs in the men's KFC T20 Big Bash League - with eight of Australia's biggest names already signed on for the first season.
Southern Stars captain Meg Lanning has joined the Melbourne Stars, star allrounder Ellyse Perry will play for the Sydney Sixers, while exciting young quick Holly Ferling has joined the Brisbane Heat.
Julie Hunter (Hobart Hurricanes), Jess Cameron (Perth Scorchers), Rene Farrell (Sydney Thunder), Sarah Elliott (Melbourne Renegades) and Megan Schutt (Adelaide Strikers) have also signed on, while the competition is also set to attract a host of international stars from around the world.
"Our goal is to see cricket become the sport of choice for women and girls across the nation, whether as participants or fans, and the WBBL will play a really important part in helping us realise that vision," said Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager of Operations Mike McKenna.
"Australia has had a professional women’s competition in the Women’s National Cricket League for 19 years and the new competition is a significant step forward for women's cricket in Australia, as we aim to create a more visible and exciting pathway for talented female athletes.
"We want young girls to know that they too can aspire to represent their favourite Big Bash team."
Lanning, who on Monday will depart for the UK as her Southern Stars aim to regain the Ashes in England, said having eight matches broadcast live on free-to-air TV will do wonders for the women's game in Australia.
"As a player, I’ve never experienced a more exciting time for women’s cricket than now," Lanning said.
"The national team is gaining an increased profile and the opportunities flowing from the new WBBL will be enormous, particularly with it being televised.
"Hopefully this is just the beginning of what will be a continued surge in girls wanting to get involved with cricket."
WBBL Season One - Major Player Signings
Adelaide Strikers - Megan Schutt
A fast bowler, 22-year-old Schutt of the SA Scorpions has appeared for the Southern Stars in Test, ODI and T20 internationals, including the 2013 Women's ODI World Cup
Brisbane Heat - Holly Ferling
19-year-old Ferling is a pace bowler for Queensland Fire, and has played for Australia in the 2013 World Cup and 2014 World T20
Hobart Hurricanes - Julie Hunter
31-year-old Hunter is a pace bowler for Victoria Spirit, winning three Women's T20 titles in a row from 2010-12. Hunter is also a winner of the ODI and T20 World Cups with the Southern Stars
Melbourne Renegades - Sarah Elliott
A 33-year-old batsman, Elliott is a long-time Test international and winner of the 2010 World T20 title
Melbourne Stars - Meg Lanning
Widely considered the finest cricketer in the women's game, 23-year-old Lanning is the youngest Southern Stars' captain and Australian Player of the Year. Lanning bats for Victoria Spirit
Perth Scorchers - Jess Cameron
26-year-old Cameron is a batsman for Victorian Spirit, winning three consecutive T20 titles from 2010-2012 and representing Australia at the 2009 and victorious 2013 World Cup campaigns
Sydney Sixers - Ellyse Perry
Perry, a dual cricket-football international, is a 24-year-old allrounder for the NSW Breakers and one of the most recognisable names in Australian sport. Perry has won three world T20 titles
Sydney Thunder - Rene Farrell
28-year-old Farrell is a fast bowler for the ACT Meteors, having played in the 2009 World Cup and the 2010 and 2014 world T20 championships for Australia
WBBL|01 Fast Facts
Total games: 59 Duration: 51 days First game: Saturday December 5, Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Stars at Junction Oval, Melbourne First Sydney derby: Sunday December 6, Sydney Thunder vs Sydney Sixers at Spotless Stadium, Sydney First Melbourne derby: Saturday January 2, Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades, MCG WBBL final: Sunday January 24 Quota for Southern Stars' representatives per team: five Quota for foreign cricketers per team: three CA's 'Women's Payment Fund' for wages: $2.26 million Retainers for WBBL players: $3000-$10,000 per campaign
Follow the Women's Big Bash League on Twitter!
Adelaide Strikers - @StrikersWBBL Brisbane Heat - @HeatWBBL Hobart Hurricanes - @HurricanesWBBL Melbourne Renegades - @RenegadesWBBL Melbourne Stars - @StarsWBBL Perth Scorchers - @ScorchersWBBL Sydney Sixers - @SixersWBBL Sydney Thunder - @ThunderWBBL