Kerry London News

Women’s cricket: Levelling the playing field

Tuesday 8th March
Women’s cricket: Levelling the playing field

As Ellyse Perry (Birmingham Phoenix), Alyssa Healy (Superchargers), and England captain Heather Knight are amongst the female cricketers that have just been retained for the 2022 Hundred competition, it’s clear to see that the trajectory of women’s cricket is headed in one direction.

Making cricket a viable career pathway

Kerry London’s Partner, the Professional Cricket Association (PCA) is championing the female game and has developed a paper outlining the need for a more financially viable approach to match the needs of professional female players. The PCA wants to ensure that cricket is a more viable, full-time career option for women. PCA Chief Executive Rob Lynch says, “I’ve always said that women’s cricket affords the biggest opportunity for the sport to grow in this country. The success of The Hundred is evidence of how that can work to grow the sport; it increased the players’ profiles and saw them play in front of big crowds, attracting new people to the sport.”

Professional contracts: Creating a level playing field for female cricketers

The PCA has highlighted how establishing England Central Contracts and a new regional domestic structure for key female players will enhance the game by providing a more defined pathway to participating in the international competition. It will also make the game available to a larger group of players. There were 17 centrally contracted female England players in 2021, plus 41 that were regionally contracted on a semi-professional footing, demonstrating the growth in the female professional game.

Lynch cites Australian women’s cricket as very progressive and perhaps three or four years ahead of the UK. “They have consistently been progressive with their promotion of the women’s game and its heroes. I think we are now in what amounts to year one of a five-year-plan of our own.”

The PCA’s paper identified ten key areas where the England women’s contracting structures differed from the men’s and how they need to be more closely aligned. In particular, the PCA is lobbying for a more level playing field regarding player remuneration and a formalised structure around basic working conditions. Lynch comments, “Ensuring that professional cricket is both aspirational for girls playing the recreational game and a viable and well-rewarded career option for women, should be the foundation that underpins all future plans.”

Player education: The importance of financial planning

Former England player Simon Jones, MBE, who retired due to a career-ending injury, comments, “There’s never been a better time to be a female cricketer, with the increased range of prestigious global tournaments such as the Hundred – there are so many opportunities. More than 150 players in both the men’s and women’s competitions have been retained in tournaments so far this year. These high-profile competitions are a fantastic springboard for players to develop their talent and increase their earnings, but the increased playing time also means they’re more exposed to the risk of an injury. Injuries impact their ability to play in other future tournaments or for their country, so we try to educate players regarding the one thing they can control – protecting themselves against the financial impact of an unexpected injury happening. Protecting income should they suffer a permanent or temporary injury either inside or outside the game is an important priority for all players.”

Jones continues, “Every player wants to go on the field with a positive mindset. No one wants to think about getting permanently injured, but it’s important to raise awareness of the financial risks, particularly among younger players. In the event of a career-ending injury, players will be able to recuperate, knowing they are at least financially protected.”

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Categories: Cricket, International Women's Day, Sport,