With the men’s T20 Big Bash League in Australia reaching new heights this summer Cricket Australia are now planning to introduce a female version of the tournament, reports The Guardian.
Eight teams, mirroring the eight men’s teams, have been announced and will compete in the inaugural competition planned for the 2015/16 season. The new tournament will replace the existing seven-team Women’s T20 but the Women’s National Cricket League will continue to exist.
Australia out in front
Australia are leading the way in domestic women’s cricket and some of England’s own leading stars have recognised this, not least England captain Charlotte Edwards who has spent some of this winter plying her trade and honing her skills down under.
The new 2015/16 T20 franchises will be based exactly on the men’s game with the same names and colours adopted. This will mean that the Tradies ACT Meteors will miss out on this format of the game.
Cricket Australia’s James Sutherland was understandably delighted with the announcement: “We see T20 as the premium format of the women’s game and the WBBL is an exciting concept that will increase the promotion and exposure of women’s cricket.
"We want cricket to be the number one sport for girls and women in Australia and we believe that the WBBL can assist this goal by creating an inspiring visible pathway for the next generation of players, fans and volunteers."
Aligning the WBBL brands with the BBL brands will help cricket to appeal to a broader audience and gain greater exposure.”
Hopefully the new competition will see a competitive edge added to the women’s T20 game as the NSW Lend Lease Breakers and Commonwealth Bank VicSpirit players will be redistributed across more teams. Both these sides have dominated the T20 game in recent years.
The scheduling of the games is not yet known but I expect Cricket Australia to align the games with the men’s fixtures so increased crowds can lend their support to the women’s game creating greater exposure just like the schedule during last year’s T20 World Cup.
This could be the making of the women’s game, not just in Australia, but around the World as I expect other countries, not least England, to follow Cricket Australia’s lead.
Cricket Australia should be commended for their planning, forethought and investment in what should be another successful adventure. 2015/16 could be the start of a huge future for women’s cricket.