May 14, 2020
Alyssa Healy is concerned at the prospect of a reduction in Women’s Big Bash and National Cricket League matches, saying it could widen the divide between international and domestic players.
Amid Cricket Australia’s financial battles due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all domestic cricket is set to come under pressure and it has been reported that cuts could be made to both female competitions as well as the Sheffield Shield.
This comes on the back of an historic season for the women’s game in Australia which included the first standalone WBBL and finished with the T20 World Cup final in front of 86,000 people at the MCG – just days before global sport was shut down by the pandemic.
In a column for the Sydney Morning Herald, Healy wrote the chance to build on that success cannot be wasted. She warned that for domestic cricketers the increasing demands of professionalism are not yet matched by earnings but such are the expectations to train almost year-round that many struggle to earn a second income.
“Now is the time to seize the moment and improve the WBBL and Women’s National Cricket League even further,” Healy, who is also on the board of the Australia Cricketers’ Association, wrote. “Recent reports that consideration is being given to reducing the number of WBBL games is concerning. Such a move would be contrary to cricket’s aim to be a sport for everyone.
“Not only would it defy the growth of the women’s game, but would amplify the divide between international female cricket and the domestic version.
“Domestic female players are experiencing increased pressure to train ‘over and above’ their contractual obligations; many training for nine months of the year for a handful of WNCL and WBBL games.
“With such expectation and increased demands from state associations and WBBL clubs, there is limited opportunity for many of our female domestic cricketers to build a second career outside of cricket. An increase in demand has not been matched with appropriate remuneration. As a result, many players are finding it very difficult to have a balanced life, which is resulting in an increased level of wellbeing concerns with the stress of finding a second income to cover daily living expenses.”
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Any reduction in domestic cricket would have to be approved by the ACA and they are set to be firmly opposed.
“Reducing WBBL games has… been strongly represented to us recently; that’s not something they want to do,” Alistair Nicholson, the ACA chief executive, told SEN radio. “Domestic cricket is the strength of the game.”
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