Women’s cricket in Australia will enter an exciting new era this weekend when the inaugural eight-team rebel Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) kicks off in Melbourne and Sydney.
The new format, which replaces the previous state-based women’s T20 competition, mirrors the eight-team men’s KFC Big Bash League (BBL) with women’s teams representing all existing BBL clubs.
It will feature 59 matches over 51 days, culminating in the competition final on Sunday 24 January.
This weekend’s action will see the Melbourne Stars, led by national captain Meg Lanning take on the Brisbane Heat featuring Australian strike bowler Holly Ferling at Melbourne’s Junction Oval (5 & 6 December). Howell Oval in Penrith will host the local derby between the Sydney Thunder led by Australian legend Alex Blackwell and the Sydney Sixes spearheaded by international superstar Ellyse Perry (6 December).
Eight matches, including the final will be broadcast live and free on Network Ten, beginning with the Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers clash at the Gabba on 19 December. Popular broadcaster Andy Maher will host the coverage along with former Australian stars Melanie Jones and Lisa Sthalekar.
The competition is designed to strengthen women’s cricket in Australia and provide inspiration for the next generation of female players and fans.
Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager of Operations said the league demonstrates Australian cricket’s ambition for cricket to be the sport of choice for girls and women, providing a clear pathway from the game’s grassroots to the elite level.
“Our ambition is to see cricket become the sport of choice for women and girls across the nation, whether as participants or fans, and the rebel WBBL is all about inspiring girls to play cricket” Mr McKenna said.
“We want young girls across Australia to know that they too can aspire to represent their favourite Big Bash team.
“The development of the league has been made even more significant through the commercial support of sports retail store, rebel, along with Network Ten whose outstanding broadcast production will allow us to showcase the high-quality competition to fans around the country.”
Almost a quarter of cricket’s 1.2 million participants across the country are female, up 18 per cent on the previous year.
For more information about the rebel WBBL, including the full season fixture, visit www.bigbash.com.au/wbbl<http://www.bigbash.com.au/wbbl>.
photos Janos Schmidt
photos Janos Schmidt