Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is taking strides to elevate the status of women’s cricket in the country by planning to create women’s teams affiliated with prominent first-class clubs. Though no concrete timeline has been announced, SLC President Shammi Silva confirmed that top clubs such as SSC, NCC, CC, and Tamil Union will be fielding women’s teams in upcoming domestic competitions.
Head of National Cricket Operations at SLC, Chinthaka Edirimanne, clarified that discussions with several Major League clubs are underway, and they expect responses within two weeks. The Major League tournament currently serves as the top domestic first-class structure in Sri Lanka, with 26 club sides participating. The goal is to establish around 10-12 women’s teams.
Presently, women’s domestic cricket in Sri Lanka consists of the Division One Tournament, a limited-overs contest featuring eight sides. However, the number of participating clubs has dwindled over the years, leaving only a handful still involved, with some affiliated with the armed forces even fielding a second XI.
In comparison to other cricketing nations, countries like India, New Zealand, and Australia have state-affiliated women’s teams, while England boasts several club sides. Despite SLC’s announcement earlier this year that women would receive the same match fee as their male counterparts, women’s cricket in Sri Lanka has faced neglect in recent times. After the 2020 T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka Women went without playing another international match for over a year.
The potential establishment of women’s sides affiliated with premier club sides represents a crucial step forward for women’s cricket in Sri Lanka, signaling a positive shift in how the sport is perceived in the country. The move aims to provide more opportunities for female cricketers to showcase their talents and participate in high-quality domestic competitions.
With the inclusion of women’s teams in the Major League clubs, the pool of talent in women’s cricket is expected to grow, nurturing a competitive environment that will foster development and progress. By aligning women’s cricket with prestigious clubs, the sport can gain more recognition, support, and investment, leading to greater interest and engagement from fans and stakeholders.
While no concrete timeline has been established yet, the discussions with Major League clubs indicate a genuine commitment from Sri Lanka Cricket to bolster the women’s game. This initiative is poised to empower and inspire a new generation of female cricketers, paving the way for a more inclusive and successful future for women’s cricket in the country.
Source: ESPN Cricinfo
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