Now that the ECB have announced the WCSL team names, people are starting to get excited, and they’ve got a few questions too. Here’s what we know in answer to some of the things we’ve been asked.
Who will be playing for “my” team?
Officially… we don’t know yet! The ECB have already allocated the 35 Performance (i.e. contracted) and Academy players to the teams – they know who they will be playing for, and so do the team managers and coaches – but the rest of us are waiting for an official announcement over the next couple of weeks.
Will the England players stay with their local county teams?
In most cases, yes… but rumour has it, maybe not all!
What about the “overseas” stars?
Around 60 overseas stars applied for the 18 roster-spots on-offer in WCSL. The hosts (franchises) are now negotiating with the ECB over who will go where. Whilst the England players were allocated by the ECB, this part of the process is host-driven – they say who they want, presumably after weighing up which England players they have (there’s perhaps little point in having Sarah Taylor and Alyssa Healy, for example) and this is then subject to ECB approval.
Where are the other players coming from?
The hosts will be selecting the remaining 5-6 domestic players themselves – probably drawing them mainly from their local county teams, subject to formal ECB approval.
Will it be on TV?
This was always going to be a tricky one. Sky own the rights to all cricket played under the auspices of the ICC in England and Wales; and they jealously guard their exclusivity, so realistically it was Sky or bust – there was never any chance that one of the “free-to-air” broadcasters would be able to show it. And although we understand Sky were reasonably happy with the viewing figures for last summer’s Women’s Ashes, this is seen as a much less commercially enticing proposition, so it seems unlikely that the league stages will be broadcast.
But… wasn’t the WBBL a big TV success?
Yes… but… that was based on “built-in” support for the existing (men’s) franchises and it was paid for by Cricket Australia, who fronted-up the bulk of the broadcasting costs. The WCSL just doesn’t have the budget to do this.
Might the finals be televised?
The finals will be played on a “showcase” day at Chelmsford, and it is rumoured that the ECB are still hoping that Sky might be enticed to get their cameras out for this, but it isn’t a given yet.
The men’s counties stream some games online – could they do this for WCSL?
The streaming of men’s county games is explicitly built into the contract between the ECB and Sky, and is only permitted when there isn’t any other cricket being broadcast at that time. Streaming WCSL would require additional special dispensation from Sky; however, there is a precedent – Sky allowed the ECB to live-stream the England/ India ODI series in 2014 – so it isn’t out of the question.
All answers provided in good faith, to the best of our knowledge.
If we’ve got anything wrong, we will more than happily correct it – you know where we live 😉