Cricket

Bates happy for women to go at it in Super League

2016-07-28 13:23
Suzie Bates (Getty Images)
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Proteas - past and present - pictured with their partners at Monday's CSA 25-year anniversary dinner and Tuesday's CSA awards.

London - New Zealand captain Suzie Bates believes the fact that matches in English cricket's new Super League are all stand alone affairs will show just how much progress women's cricket is making as a professional sport.

The Twenty20 competition gets underway this weekend, with officials hoping to emulate the success of Australia's already-established Women's Big Bash League (WBBL).

But while many WBBL fixtures, as has happened with a number of women's Twenty20 internationals, have been staged as double-headers alongside men's matches, fixtures in the Super League will have to attract crowds purely on their own merits.

"I guess (a double-header) has its advantages and disadvantages, you get to play at some of the main grounds and get the fans in towards the end of the game," said Bates.

"With this competition, hopefully we'll be creating our own fanbase and on some of the smaller grounds we can fill it out, get lots of girls down to the ground, rather than always piggy-backing off the men."

Former England captain Charlotte Edwards, who will be a team-mate of Bates's again at the Southern Vipers after their pair played alongside other in the WBBL for the Perth Scorchers, added:

"I think it's great that we've got stand-alone games here; you'll probably get a good gauge of where the women's game's at from the crowds we're hopefully going to attract."

Six specially created teams will compete in the Super League from July 30 to August 21, with a 50 overs per side element added next year ahead of the Women's World Cup in England and Wales next year.

But Edwards was in no doubt that Twenty20, the shortest of cricket's professional formats, was the way to showcase women's cricket to a new audience.

"We've learnt over a period of time that the T20 format is the best way to promote the game and I think this is a great opportunity to do that again," said Edwards.

"I think it's a great way to attract people to watch - we want it to be an energetic and dynamic game which hopefully attracts young girls to play.

"It's going to be a 50-over comp before the World Cup next summer and the T20 afterwards, so it's exciting times," Edwards added.

England and Australia have been the dominant nations in women's cricket for most of Bates's career but the success of the West Indies in winning the World Twenty20 earlier this year was evidence of an increasingly competitive global game.

"New Zealand had six players in the Big Bash League and our team's gone from strength to strength, with our top players getting exposure to competitive cricket and pressure situations," Bates said.

"So I think it'll strengthen South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand and hopefully we can keep competing with England and Australia, who've been top dogs for a while now.

"I think everyone agrees if we can have six to eight teams worldwide competing regularly, it's going to be good for the women's game."

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