One’s name just does not light up the crowd and reverberate in the history of this very special game of cricket unless and until it has been earned and the one who has been chosen to be a part of the eleven, is the best. Best and nothing less. Competition, challenges and experience is what brings out the best from an individual. One’s journey starts flourishing on the local grounds and in gullies and become achievements at The Lords, The Melbourne Cricket Ground or The Wankhede. Sure this journey has never been only about good times and easy goings but is shaped in the struggles, sweat and hard work. When the fans put in so much belief in these eleven individuals to actually address them as their nation, it is quite mandatory and crucial for each cricketer who has been chosen to be worth this honor.
Before one becomes eligible enough to be playing at the International level, there are three levels one has to pass. Firstly, the decision to commit oneself to this game, second, the gullies and third, the domestic cricket.
Domestic cricket not only provides a base for the budding cricketers but also establishes certain standards based on which the players are expected to perform. The various cricketing countries have their own cricket governing bodies or boards that lay down certain guidelines and also arrange for the various tournaments at the national level.
Listed below are the TOP 7 Women’s Cricket Teams as per the latest ICC Rankings and their board framework and domestic cultures.
The Australian Cricket Board, commonly known as Cricket Australia is the official Board that administers the game of cricket in Australia. The country is divided into mainly seven teams based on various regions. Namely the Australian capital territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. The whole Domestic structure of Australian cricket comprises of these seven teams that play various tournaments with each other to finally become eligible to play at the international level.
Until 2003, there were two separate boards for control of cricket in Australia namely Women’s Cricket Australia (WCA) and the Australian Cricket Board (ACB). In 2003, these merged to form one single body which is today known as Cricket Australia. This has not only made the working better but has also proved to be beneficial for Women’s Cricket as it has provided more financial support and a greater exposure.
Cricket Australia organizes The Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) first played in the year 1996; it is the national tournament for the Women. It involves the six member teams playing each other in two 50 over limited Over matches. The side that finishes on the top after the league matches, gets to host the best-of-three finals series. It is all for the Ruth Preddey Cup which is ultimately won by the final winner. Since 2007-2008, the finals were reduced to a single match with the introduction of T20 matches. The New South Wales, being the most successful team till now and also the current champions (as for 2018).
As cricket especially women’s cricket started to grow more, the competition increased too. In the year 2008-09, The Australian Women’s T20 Cup was introduced. Two new teams namely the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania were included too in order to increase the competition through this expansion.
The Australian Women’s T20 Cup was then replaced by The Big Bash League in 2015.
Currently Ranked world No.1, The Australian Women’s cricket team is one extremely inspiring team and the most appropriate example of success, determination and true commitment. Not only do they inspire millions as cricketers but as individuals reflecting passion, fitness and sportsmanship.
England, the country where cricket comes from. English domestic cricket has been following a county club culture be it men’s cricket or women’s cricket.
The Women’s County Championship is the 50 over tournament for England Women’s team at the national level. The historical county culture that England cricket has always been following comes down in these domestic fixtures. The women’s county championship, now known as the Royal London Women’s One Day Cup, is organized by the England and Wales Cricket Board and all the teams participating are drawn mostly from the historic counties of England. The 36 teams that are a part of this tournament are split into three divisions. The bottom division is split into five groups and the top two divisions consist of eight teams each with the bottom two teams relegated from Division One at the end of the season and the top two teams in Division Two taking their place. Previously a four division system had been used with the bottom division split into two groups, but this was replaced with the present structure ahead of the 2017 championship.
Along with this league, The Women’s T20 Cup is also an inter-county tournament at the domestic level. Playing these major domestic tournaments, the players set off towards a journey to the international cricket.
3. NEW ZEALAND
The New Zealand Women’s cricket team nicknamed The White Ferns is ranked third in women’s cricket. The domestic tournaments like The Action Cricket Cup and the Action Cricket T20 cup are major tournaments played among the various cities of New Zealand at the first class level. There are various One Day and T20 tournaments played at the domestic level. These tournaments are all organized by the New Zealand Cricket Board.
The one-day Hallyburton Johnstone Shield sees the six domestic teams competing against each Other in two back-to-back 50-over rounds at each venue as the players all strive for WHITE FERNS selection. The competition was first competed as the State Insurance Cup. A T20 competition was added in the year 2007-08. It is contested in a round robin format where all the six teams play against each other once at T20 level then twice in One Day matches. The two teams that top their respective groups then play the finals.
India, where cricket is not a sport but an emotion and the country where almost every third person wants to be a cricketer, the competition is the highest and intense. There are many domestic or first class tournaments played before the selection in the international blue. The major Women’s domestic tournaments are the Senior Women’s One Day League and the Inter State Women’s T20 Competition.
The senior women’s One Day league started in the year 2006-07. It was played in the round robin format at the zonal level and the top performing team then playing in the super league. The format was changed in season 2013–14, since then it is played in 2 tiers, with states being divided in 5 groups, 2 in elite group and 3 in plate group. Finalists in plate group, at the end of season are promoted to Elite group and 2 bottom most performing team in elite group are relegated to the plate group.
The Inter-state Women’s T20 competition is the T20 format domestic tournament for women and is played by full members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which also governs and organizes all these tournaments. This competition was inaugurated in 2008-09.
5. WEST INDIES
The Windies Women are ranked fifth in the ICC rankings being one of the influential sides in world women’s cricket. However, there is only one domestic league organized for the women in the West Indies. The West Indies Women Cricket Federation (WIWCF) organizes the Women’s Senior Tournament played by the major cities of West Indies and thus leading them towards the national team.
6. SOUTH AFRICA
Proteas- the evergreen shrubs and also the national flower of South Africa. The South African Cricket is so appropriately named. After sporting boycotts and other criticisms, the Protea Women stand tall on the 22 Yards. The Women’s team is governed by the South Africa & Rhodesian Women’s Cricket Association (SA&RWCA). The domestic cricket in South Africa exists in tournaments with schools of Pretoria, the country’s capital. Various T20s and ODIs are played among these regions and schools which gives the national team their most promising players.
The matches are played between North and South CSA in the T20 format for three days annually, this leads towards finding some real passionate yet deserving cricketers. The Proteas are important and full time members of the ICC and thus are one of the greatest competitions in world cricket.
Governed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the Pakistan women’s cricket team’s domestic structure is based on departmentalization. There are four major departments namely the Higher Education Commission, Pakistan Education Board, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited and the State Bank of Pakistan. These form the main domestic cricket circuit in Pakistan and they play matches against each other to explore the best. There are also various academies assisted and affiliated with the Pakistan Cricket board so that experts can train these aspiring cricketers and also the most professional facilities can be provided.
The players are categorized based on their experience and game and are further assigned contracts to play at the highest that is the international level for their country.
To reach somewhere, a road map is very crucial. It not only provides a base and guidance but also puts one to test. The test of competence, commitment, dedication and the passion to reach somewhere. These aspiring cricketers not only dream to hear the cheers of their names, but to do something which makes them a crucial part of the history, to be remembered as a legend. These domestic stages and structures not only help explore the best future of cricket, but prepare them for the level, they dream to conquer.
Also Read : Career options for girls in cricket
The 22 Yard stretch that molded me, is what I hold sacred. A cricketer weaving life’s innings into words. A Rohit Sharma Admirer always. I believe writing and cricket aren’t passions, but ways of life, so truly living the dream!