Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

7 August 2014

South Africa: Why Does the ECB Treat Women's Cricket As a Niche Sport?

analysis

England and India's women's cricketers will contest a Test match beginning next week. But the choice of venue and the cost of access is making it feel like a niche sport, out of reach of ordinary people. An opportunity to introduce average cricket fans to the women's game is being completely squandered.

When it comes to the setting the standard for professionalism in women's cricket, Australia and England are miles ahead compared to most other countries. Their women have had some sort of contract system in place for a good few years and have been afforded the luxury of careers in sport where others have lagged behind. South Africa only managed to become professional for the first time this year, with the entire women's squad now able to earn a living solely out of cricket.

Yet, for all the propaganda the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) likes to bang on about, there is still something curious about the way they treat the longest format of the women's game. Starting next week, England and India will contest a Test match for the first time in eight years. It's a great thing for women's cricket and refreshing to...

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