As CRICKETher reported back in July, England stars travelling to Australia for the winter have been warned by the ECB that they are expected to be back in Blighty by mid-January to prepare for their international tour to South Africa, meaning that they will miss the semi-finals and final of the WBBL, which is set to be the biggest domestic event ever in the history of women’s cricket.
Word is that Cricket Australia were bitterly disappointed by this – the finals are set to be broadcast on national TV, so they are a massive showcase at a critical juncture in the development of the women’s game and they desperately need all the star-power they can get. Hence the past couple of months have seen intense lobbying from Cricket Australia for a change of heart at the ECB, pointing out that there are two whole weeks between the WBBL final and England’s first match in South Africa.
But with several of the England players due to fly out this week, whispers now reach us from Australia that despite everything the ECB have refused to back down: the players are primarily contracted to them and that’s that – the closest Charlotte Edwards and Co. will come to the WBBL final is watching it on TV back in Loughborough.
Of course, the ECB are quite within their rights; but one day they’ll want a favour from Cricket Australia… perhaps as soon as next summer’s Super League… and one wonders quite how cooperative the Aussies will then feel like being?