England’s Women Cricketers Go Pro
In February, it was announced that the England women’s cricket team were going to be the first women’s team in the world to become full-time professionals in the sport.
The women’s team beat Australia for the ashes in both Summer 2013 and Winter 2013/2014, which led to the decision from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that not only would the team be receiving extra investment, but also the scheme they are involved in called Chance to Shine, which aims to encourage children to take up cricket.
Charlotte Edwards, captain of the team, took to Twitter at the time of the announcement, thanking for everyone for their support leading to the team’s professional status. “Today is a day I never thought I’d see in my time as a player!” she tweeted.
Former captain, Clare Connor, said that when she and the current captain took the team on tour in India in 1995, they had to pay for their own blazers. But now, all of that has changed. “Players coming through our pathway now have the opportunity to aim to play professional sport,” she said, “and for any woman, that’s an incredible dream.”
The team now have a chance to prove that it was worth giving them professional status, as they face the West Indies from Monday in Sylhet.
“I think England will always go into tournaments like these as one of the favourites,” stated batsman Lydia Greenway, adding that the pressure will be on the team to prove their status as the world’s only full-time women’s cricket team, but pressure is something that the team thrives on.
Giles Clarke, Chairman of the ECB, explained that the performance of England women’s cricket team over the past few years has shown them to be great role models for any female wanting to take up the sport. Not only that, but their success “was a real bright spot during an otherwise disappointing winter”, during which the men’s cricket team for England lost the Ashes to Australia.
The players’ pay rises will be funded by International Cricket Council events revenues, and the ECB has also said that those involved in the win against Australia in the most recent Ashes will receive extra bonuses, as well. The team will now be watching the team’s performance against the West Indies with bated breath, so let’s hope they can prove that it is all worth it.