The cricket board of England is planning to boost its investments into women’s cricket over the upcoming years.
The England and Wales Cricket Board will invest around 20 million pounds into girls and women’s cricket till 2021. The investment will be comprehensive which will aim to increase the participation of girls in cricket at the grassroots level, at the same time encouraging the club cricketers to achieve benchmarks in their performance.
The ECB is planning to spend around 50 million pounds in women’s cricket over the next 5 years, recruiting more talents and nurturing them to become professional cricketers.
In addition to the existing central contracts given by ECB to an elite group of women players, 40 full-time professional contracts will also be awarded to the domestic players.
As part of this project, ECB aims to introduce a semi-professional tournament for the girls which will have 8 regional teams participating in it.
The initiative also focuses on promoting gender-neutral cricket through ‘The Hundred’ which will be a new domestic tournament beginning from the next year.
ECB’S managing director for women’s cricket, Clare Connor feels that this is an amazing opportunity to make the sport modern, innovative and exclusive. She tells that the investment will be directed towards the whole pathway- from young girls who want to play to the club cricketers, providing them with proper equipment and opportunities.
Speaking about the new plan, ECB Managing Director, Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor said:
“Cricket has been an integral part of my life, as a player and in my role as Managing Director of Women’s Cricket. I have never been more excited by the opportunity in front of us right now.
“Recent initiatives have given women and girls more opportunities to play, such as All Stars Cricket for 5-8-year-olds, the South Asian female activators programme, and the Kia Super League for our most talented domestic cricketers. But to truly transform women’s and girls’ cricket, we must now move from targeted standalone programmes to addressing the whole pathway as one.
“We have an amazing opportunity to make cricket the sport we want it to be – a sport that is modern, innovative and inclusive. I have been so heartened by the level of enthusiasm, commitment and support for this plan from everyone involved in cricket.”
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, added:
“During the development of Inspiring generations, and extensive conversations and research across the game, the strong appetite to transform cricket’s relationship with women and girls was abundantly clear.
“There is tremendous energy across the cricket network to pursue the game’s largest growth opportunity and to increase the number of women and girls playing, watching and volunteering at every level of the game.
“This plan, formed in collaboration with the whole cricket network, and supported by our commercial and media partners, represents a crucial step in achieving our ambition of making cricket a gender-balanced sport.”
England Women’s Captain, Heather Knight added: “This action plan is a really exciting next step in the continued growth of women’s cricket. We need more young girls to be inspired to play and those young girls need to be able to see a clear pathway above them that encourages them to continue pursuing the game.
“As England players, we’re fortunate enough to meet lots of young girls who love the game and it means so much to us to see how much they love cricket. Much of this plan is about normalizing the game for women and girls and I’m excited to see how this increased opportunity takes the game forward.”
To check out the complete action plan, click here