By Declan Byrne
They did what the men couldn’t and regained the Ashes in enemy territory, but now our women cricketers have set their sights on thrilling audiences a little closer to home.
The inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) is set to tee off in December, playing host to both local and international talent.
One player who will be there is Southern Stars’ and Perth Scorchers’ top order batter Elyse Villani.
Villani, 26, says she is excited to be a part of the very first fixtures of the WBBL.
“The fact that there are going to be some fantastic internationals involved in the competition, it’s really going to be a competition where the best are playing the best,” she said.
“I don’t think there is another female competition like it at the moment in the world so it’s very exciting to be a part of.”
Villani believes the novelty of Twenty20 Cricket will help entice more young female fans to the WACA this summer.
“Coming up through the ranks as a kid, T20 is exciting. As a spectator, you’ve got the fireworks going and it’s an exciting brand of cricket, so hopefully we can grasp their love for the game through T20 and continue to build it through to test level.”
It’s a goal that is shared at all levels of the cricket hierarchy with Christina Matthews, the Western Australian Cricket Association CEO, also hoping the WBBL can inspire more young women to take up the iconic Australian sport.
“We now have 40,000 females playing cricket in WA. To be able to provide them with an opportunity to come and see their role model is very important for their longevity in the game,” she said.
When asked if the Women Scorchers could emulate the resounding success of the men’s team, Matthews was bold in her prediction.
“We’ve recruited very strongly, put some strong resources in place so we’re expecting some really strong results,” she said.
“The coach tells me they are going to win, so I’ll stick with that.”