Women’s Hundred 2022 – Women’s Hundred shows the evolution of sport in fast motion

Women’s cricket is evolving. Money is entering the sport with players such as Lizelle Lee and Deandra Dottin walking away from the international game with a life possible solely on the money earned on the domestic circuit.

As decisions, they each carry their own sadness, nuances, and complications, but even so, each can still be taken with a pinch of sugar as opposed to salt in terms of how it speaks to the progression of the women’s game. In 2014, the England Women were the first-ever professional women’s cricket team. And less than a decade later, it is possible to make a living in sport outside of the international circuit.

It also means that in games like today between London Spirit and Welsh Fire (in other words, dead rubbers), that context still exists. It’s just that instead of doing it as a team, he does it individually. Nobody wins a team prize here, but they can win a contract somewhere else.

“It’s obviously a really exciting time for all of women’s cricket,” Freya Davies said at the end after winning a 3 for 25 for London Spirit. “All these national tournaments around the world, and yes, I would love to go to the Big Bash, but the focus right now is just putting on performances and winning games for Spirit.”

It’s a quirk of progress in women’s football that as the sport progresses, some of the traits we laugh at in other aspects of the sport will come to the fore. We want our players to only play for passion and love of the game, but passion and love don’t pay the bills. However, an entry fee and a bonus for 500 races does.

We want every game to be played as if it were the last, but the truth is that as the sport progresses, the women’s game will follow in the men’s footsteps, with players competing in so many competitions that the The value of a security at each slowly decreases more and more, the real price being not the points you score today, but the contract they earn you for the next.

“You absolutely have to keep putting in those performances and you want to do well,” Welsh Fire’s Sarah Bryce said after scoring 33 of 25 balls. “You don’t really think about it while you’re playing, but if it can open those opportunities, it’s really exciting.

“A few years ago the game you played was in front of your parents and maybe a few friends, so the fact that you were playing in front of thousands of people definitely makes a difference and you feel that.”

The floor and the ceiling of the sport are rising. And not regularly either, but in the same way a grandparent looks in disbelief at the 4’3″ kid who left them at Christmas to be a 6ft 7in teenager the next year. parent in shock.The teenager puzzled.Unaware of how much of a change they have gone through in such a short time.

“I think sometimes you can forget,” said Davies who, having already spent more than a decade in the game, was embedded in the sport’s growth spurt rather than witnessing it from afar. “But then we play here and there’s a huge crowd and it’s something women’s cricket wouldn’t have dreamed of two years ago.”

The range of reasons why it is important that every Women’s Hundred match be broadcast illustrates how unique this period is in women’s cricket as it seeks to continue to lay its foundation with one hand, while also reaching top shelf prices. with the other.

Domestically, it’s important that every game is broadcast as the game continues to grow in the country, with a generation of young players available and ready to be inspired under the mantra of ‘you can’t be what you can’. . I do not see.”

And yet, while this is true at one end of a sport, for players every game broadcast is important for another reason. Just as young people can’t be what they can’t see, franchise owners everywhere can’t sign what they can’t see.

“Runs on Sky count double” is an apocryphal saying that has long existed in cricketing quarters across the country. Years ago, while watching a Blast game with a friend, one of his former teammates hit fast fifty on TV in an otherwise lean season. But people have seen. Former players tweeted. And a new contract was signed. The result of the match was not important, and yet it changed the player’s life.

Likewise, as both teams walked out at Lord’s today, there was nothing in the game for either team. But thanks to the growth of women’s football, for each of the 22 people who took to the pitch, it was a potentially life-changing step.

Cameron Ponsonby is a freelance cricket writer in London. @cameronponsonby

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