The Women’s County Championship starts tomorrow, but it looks like missing from action will be several leading stars, including big stars like Yorkshire’s Katherine Brunt, Berkshire’s Heather Knight, Nottinghamshire’s Danni Wyatt and Sussex’s Georgia Elwiss – all of whom are flying back from an England training camp (NB a training camp… not international matches!) in Sri Lanka, too late to play.
Meanwhile, later in the summer, England players will miss several county matches during the Women’s Ashes.
You have to ask if the England administrators even looked at the county calendar when they were making these decisions?
Although this is par for the course in The Other Game, where England players rarely play for their counties, domestic women’s cricket simply does itself a disservice if it goes down the same route.
From a marketing perspective, we only have a limited number of Big Guns, and if you take out three of the most well-known names (Katherine “Waitrose” Brunt, Danni “Marry Me On Twitter” Wyatt and Heather “Batwoman” Knight) fans are going to leave disappointed… or worse still not turn up at all, if they don’t see the faces they recognise on the posters.
The press also need drama and stories to build interest; and if the leading players aren’t involved, they just won’t bother.
And finally, from a cricketing point of view, without the best players participating in what (for the moment) will always be quite a short season, individual match-ups won’t be enticing or competitive; and this also damages England, who need fertile domestic ground to grow the next generation of international talent.
So if we are indeed moving to a franchise model next summer, the franchises need ALL their players ALL the time, and the calendar needs to be scheduled accordingly.