England is cricket’s birthplace, and the country it is most associated with. After all, what other sport stops for “tea”?
For a large part of cricket’s history, women were excluded from large parts of the game until pioneers like Rachael Heyhoe-Flint fought to change it. Heyhoe-Flint led England to their debut victory in the Women’s World Cup in 1973, after helping to organize the event in the first place. After successfully lobbying for women to be allowed membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club, the Queen awarded her an OBE and a peerage. Because of this, she is now known as Baroness Hayhoe-Flint of Wolverhampton.
Following in her footsteps, many contemporary English female cricketers are making names for themselves on the world stage. While many choose to stay at home, others are being attracted to the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia.
It’s not just cricket that attracts female athletes from Britain. International competitions like athletics, golf and tennis tournaments regularly attract British athletes to the land down under, although their success varies. For example, Britain’s only entry to the tournament is no longer in contention for the Australia Open Women’s Trophy. Many lower league football players are also being lured to Australia to play Aussie rules, while British players have seen success in the National Rugby League.
What is the Women’s Big Bash League?
Cricket is big in Australia, which is why its domestic league for Twenty20 cricket, the Big Bash League, receives as many as 2 million TV reviewers for games. After the success of the men’s league, the Women’s Big Bash League was launched in 2015, replacing the former
Australian Women’s Twenty20 Cup.
It contains eight teams from across Australia, and operates in a double round-robin league format, with a knockout tournament being held to decide the league’s winner. The league’s rules are designed to encourage the growth of national talent, with the majority of players coming from the Australian national team and up and coming talent. However, each team is also allowed to have up to three players from overseas.
Of these international players, many are coming from England. Here are some of them.
As captain of the England national team, Heather Knight has proven her skills and ability as a strong cricket player. She has been playing in the Women’s Big Bash League for a few years now, where she’s been on top form with records like 82 not out from 55 balls for her side, the Hobart Hurricanes.
After playing for Staffordshire in England, Danni Wyatt began playing in the Australian Women’s Twenty20 Cup, winning player of the match in the 2011-12 final. She returned to the Melbourne Renegades for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League in 2015 and has been a crucial player since. She is joined by fellow compatriot, Tammy Beaumont.
Tammy Beaumont began her professional cricketing career in 2007, playing for Kent. She played for the Adelaide Strikers for one season during 2016-17, before returning to England where she played for both Kent in the Women’s County Championship and the Surrey Stars in the Women’s Cricket Super League.
In September 2019 it was announced that Beaumont would be returning to Australia, having signed for the Melbourne Renegades.
Amy Jones has played for the Perth Scorchers since 2018, in addition to playing County Cricket in England for Warwickshire since 2008. Five years into her professional career, Jones made her international debut in 2013 against Sri Lanka and has continued to regularly play ODIs and T20I matches.
Also playing for the Perth Scorchers, Natalie Sciver is an all-round player that has played in the Women’s Big Bash League since its first season in 2015. She is the joint holder of the highest 3rd wicket run stand in the Women’s Cricket World Cup, one of the many achievements in her international career.
With a total of eight players in the Women’s Big Bash League, more than any other country (including neighboring New Zealand), it is clear that England is proving it is one of the strongest nations in the world for women’s cricket.