‘Pay women crick­eters more’

The New Age (Northern Cape) - - SPORT -

A TOP ICC of­fi­cial has urged cricket bod­ies around the world to fol­low Aus­tralia’s lead and dra­mat­i­cally raise wages for women’s play­ers – to stop them drop­ping out of the sport.

Clare Con­nor, the for­mer Eng­land cap­tain who now heads the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil’s women’s com­mit­tee, said other coun­tries must match Aus­tralia’s eight­fold in­crease in wages.

“We are all go­ing to think very se­ri­ously of how well our play­ers are re­mu­ner­ated,” Con­nor said.

“Be­cause if we don’t look af­ter them they will go and choose other sports or other pro­fes­sions and that will be a tragedy.”

The women’s World Cup this year won by Eng­land was hailed as a break­through for the women’s game, with full sta­di­ums and high TV rat­ings around the globe.

But many top play­ers have said there has to be fol­lowup from the cricket hi­er­ar­chy to ac­knowl­edge what is a growth area for the sport.

Con­nor said higher pay was a key area for women’s cricket as it moves main­stream and gen­er­ates in­creas­ing com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Cricket Aus­tralia’s new pay deal en­sured a wind­fall for its women play­ers, whose to­tal pay­ments have in­creased from $7.5m (R101m) to $55.2m.

In­dia’s cricket board, the world’s rich­est, has also promised a salary in­crease for women play­ers, but no de­tails have been an­nounced.

“Ob­vi­ously the men brings sig­nif­i­cant com­mer­cial rev­enues to the game,” Con­nor said.

“We are just start­ing out on our jour­ney, hence there is a lot of dis­crep­ancy or dif­fer­ence how play­ers are paid in var­i­ous cor­ners of the globe.”

Tony Ir­ish, CEO of the In­ter­na­tional Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, also said the women’s game is at risk from match fix­ers, who of­ten prey on play­ers on low pay.

“They (Aus­tralia) are cer­tainly set­ting the bar very high and this is a key is­sue for lots of coun­tries. It is amaz­ing that in­ter­na­tional women can earn that sort of money,” Con­nor said. “In­dia have got a team that has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion and they have ob­vi­ously got a huge num­ber of girls that could be at­tracted to the game as a re­sult.”

In­dia cap­tain Mithali Raj, who be­came the top run­scorer in the women’s one­day game at the World Cup, is hop­ing the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia ( BCCI) will make good on its pledge for higher pay.

“Re­cently there was news that the BCCI is look­ing into it and we are hop­ing that it will be pos­i­tive,” Raj said.

In what is now a packed women’s cal­en­dar, the sec­ond edi­tion of the World Cham­pi­onships started this week with a one­day se­ries be­tween West Indies and Sri Lanka.

The World Cham­pi­onships will act as qual­i­fiers for the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand, while the women’s Twenty20 World Cup will take place in West Indies next year. Con­nor said the first world cham­pi­onships from 20142016 de­serve “great credit for a sig­nif­i­cant rise in per­for­mance stan­dards that was on show in the women’s World Cup”. – AFP

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

VOIC­ING CON­CERNS: ICC of­fi­cial Clare Con­nor.

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