The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put Cricket Australia in a financial crisis. In a move to minimise further financial damage, recent reports indicate that the board is contemplating to reduce the number of matches in the upcoming seasons of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) and Women’s National Cricket League. Australian wicketkeeper-batswoman Alyssa Healy believes that such a move would “amplify” the division between women’s international and domestic cricket.
The 2019-20 Australian home season was highly successful for women’s domestic and international cricket. The most recent season of WBBL was the first-ever standalone tournament in its five-year history, i.e. it did not run in tandem with the men’s Big Bash League season. Furthermore, the Women’s T20 World Cup final on March 8 was played in front of over 86,000 crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
While writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Alyssa Healy stated that this is the chance to improve the WBBL and Women’s National Cricket League. Furthermore, she mentioned that shortening the two domestic competitions will be “contrary” to the aim of cricket of being a “sport for everyone”. Alyssa Healy also wrote that after recent success, a reduction in matches would “defy” the growth of women’s cricket.
Alysa Healy mentioned the training regime of domestic female players by saying that they train for nine months in a year just to participate in a “handful” of WBBL and National Cricket League matches. She further stated that with “such expectation”, cricketers will likely get limited opportunities to find a career outside the game.
Apart from their various annual domestic tournaments, Australia are also scheduled to host the men’s T20 World Cup between October and November this year. However, in wake of the ongoing pandemic, the staging of the tournament is clouded with much uncertainty at the moment. After the T20 World Cup, Australia will be hosting India in four Test matches. While the Indian tour also looks much uncertain, Cricket Australia were earlier reported to have talks of hosting five matches at a single venue without crowds.