Cricket: Bright future as men and women join forces

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BARBARA DANIELS, the manager to the English women's team, predicted a bright future for cricket's distaff side at a meeting yesterday to announce closer cooperation between the men's and women's games. She said that women's cricket can now draw on the huge resources of the English Cricket Board and two committees have already been formed to administer the game for both sexes.

"This is foundation year to make sure women's cricket is ready to reap the benefits of the ECB's first full integrated development plan in 2000," Daniels said.

Paul Farbrace, the former Kent and Middlesex wicketkeeper, has been appointed coach to England's women, and the challenge now, according to Daniels, is to increase participation by women and girls and create more teams and clubs for them to play in.

From now on, the idea will be to lay the foundations for development in every county. Development Officers will be encouraged to introduce cricket to more girls in primary and particularly secondary schools. There will be more leagues and coaching courses, while help will be given to existing men's clubs to form women's and girls' teams.

"There are not enough girls playing cricket," Daniels said. "We are competing with other sports, all of which want the same children. We have to demonstrate that women's cricket is worth pursuing."