Following record-breaking crowds at the women’s T20 World Cup final in March, women’s cricket was in the spotlight before the pandemic hit.
That momentum could be curtailed or put on hold, however, by the postponement of sporting fixtures. The cancellation of the new tournament, The Hundred this year could have a significant impact.
Spinner and part of the 2017 World Cup-winning England Team, Alex Hartley has told BBC Sport that after losing her central contract in 2019, the lack of The Hundred could cause her career to disappear.
She told the broadcaster: “I am missing out on a significant amount of money that I was relying on to support myself.”
“I am playing things by ear but you might see me stacking toilet roll in Tesco by the end of the summer if no cricket is played because I will have no job.”
The Hundred was due to replace the T20 tournament, the Kia Super League and would be the only paid form of cricket for women in England apart from the 21 players who have central contracts for England.
The tournament was also set to have equal prize money for the men’s and women’s tournaments, although there were significant disparities between the salaries with the lowest salary for the men set at £30,000 and the highest for the women set at £15,000.
For Hartley though it’s not just about the impact of the money. “I haven’t played cricket since August last year,” Hartley told BBC Sport. “Why would a team want to pay me to play cricket for them if I haven’t played cricket for 18 months?”
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t changed the ECB’s intention to award new full-time contracts to 40 female players this year, and they have committed to keeping up their £20 million investment in the women’s game, showing that the body is keen to pursue the gathering momentum around the women’s game.
- Ellyse Perry does not think coronavirus will be detrimental for women’s sport
- Charlotte Edwards thinks postponing The Hundred is worrying for women’s cricket
- The Hundred is officially postponed until 2021 because of coronavirus