Women's cricket: Charlotte Edwards' Ashes winners up to full-time on ECB payroll

 

England's women cricketers are to become the highest-paid female team athletes in the country under a new deal. In effect, the top 10 or 11 players have been made full-time professionals, receiving the sort of cash earned by a junior county professional in the men's game, around £40,000 a year.

"It is a transformational moment," said Clare Connor, the director of the women's game for the England and Wales Cricket Board after the deal was announced. "It means that the top players in our game can be proper professionals, start saving and planning."

There has been a major shift in the approach to the women's game in the last few years. Its status has been hugely advanced by the success of the England team, the growing number of girls playing cricket, the determination of the ECB to promote it and the rise of social networking sites.

England's retention of the Ashes last month under Charlotte Edwards, while the men were being roundly thrashed by Australia, struck a chord at home and raised the profile of the women's game still further. Edwards, who began her England career 18 years ago and along with her team has been awarded a substantial bonus, tweeted: "Thanks everyone for your support. Today is a day I never thought I'd see in my time as a player."

The increased deal has been made possible by the anticipated rise in ECB income after it helped to lead a revolutionary and controversial restructuring of the International Cricket Council. Under planned changes England, India and Australia, as the most powerful countries, will to all intents and purposes lead the organisation and take a much greater proportion of its income.

It is expected that, in addition to the top players, another half-dozen will be on enhanced tier-two contracts, which will allow them to concentrate on the game. Some of them will also link up with the Chance to Shine project, which has helped to revive cricket in secondary schools.

While the policy of promoting the women's game is to be applauded, it could have an unwanted consequence in the long term. England, with all their comparative riches, will have the only professional women cricketers in the world. Eventually, this should have the effect of attracting many more skilled female ball players and making the England team far superior to all opponents.

More cash from the ECB's bigger pot is also being found for developing the game in inner cities, where it has declined drastically in the last 50 years. A pilot programme to rescue or create grass pitches will start in London this summer.

Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test