29 Aug

There is finally light at the end of the tunnel. West Indies women will tour the UK for five T20 matches next month, and today sees the start of the Rachel Heyhoe-Flint trophy – a 50-over competition played between eight new regional sides in two groups of four with a final at Edgbaston that will be broadcast live on Sky.

However, the cancellation of the Hundred and uncertainties about the new regional competition meant that some women players who had been expecting to earn a living from playing this summer — Hundred contracts were worth between £4,000 and £15,000 — were suddenly faced with the prospect of earning nothing and possibly even having to step away from the game.

The ECB was alive to the concerns, though, and awarded small retainer contracts to 25 players, who are now expected to get awarded full-time contracts — worth at least the PCA minimum wage of £27,500 — from the start of October before the start of a full programme of elite women’s domestic cricket next summer.

All players will receive payment for playing and each side has been given the budget for a full-time coach.

Heather Knight, the England captain (pictured), believes that by getting this tournament on the ECB have demonstrated their commitment to investing in women’s cricket.

“I felt for the domestic girls with the uncertainty and losing the Hundred money,” Knight said.

“I think it is really important now that women’s cricket goes on all around the world and it’s not just the rich boards – England, Australia and India – that make cricket happen and the ICC help to get it on.

John Stephenson


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