THE ENGLAND and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has launched its action plan to transform women’s and girls’ cricket with the fundamental goal of making cricket a gender-balanced sport.
Transforming women’s and girls’ cricket is one of six priorities within ECB’s ‘Inspiring Generations’ strategy for 2020-2024. An unprecedented £20m of funding will be invested over the next two years, with an ambition of investing £50m over the five years, to enable organisations across the cricket network to recruit more dedicated resources, improve the player experience, and increase the opportunities to build careers in the sport.
Another ground-breaking commitment is the funding of 40 full-time professional, domestic contracts. These contracts will be in addition to the existing England Women centrally contracted players.
The comprehensive ten-point action plan aims to transform all elements of women’s and girls’ cricket in England and Wales to increase engagement, grow representation and improve opportunities across the game. The plan focuses on five key objectives:
- Participation: To increase the number of women and girls playing cricket recreationally
- Pathway: To develop aspiring female cricketers (U11-17) as players and people
- Performance: To drive the performance of England women’s cricket through a new semi-professional, eight region structure
- Profile: To elevate the profile of women’s cricket through The Hundred, the England Women’s team and the elite game
- People: To increase the representation of women across the cricket workforce
The plan was produced following two years of consultation with all 38 Counties and Cricket Wales, and detailed analysis of thousands of survey responses from the recreational and elite game.
To test some of the recommendations for the recreational game, ECB has run pilot programmes with over 600 cricket clubs to better understand the essential criteria in creating the most sustainable women’s and girls’ clubs.
ECB managing director, women’s cricket, Clare Connor said: “Cricket has been an integral part of my life, as a player and in my role of Managing Director of Women’s Cricket.
“I have never been more excited by the opportunity in front of us right now.”