The inaugural Kia Super League has reached its conclusion, with Southern Vipers lifting the trophy. The key question now is: what next?
There have as yet been no pronouncements about what the competition will look like next summer, aside from the fact that it will be extended to a 50-over tournament which will take place prior to the World Cup.
This seems to raise more questions than it answers – not least whether the teams will remain the same for the 50-over competition as they are for the 20-over competition, given that very few overseas players are expected to be able to participate.
One person who is sure of where she will be next summer, though, is victorious Vipers captain Charlotte Edwards:
“I’m not moving anywhere!” she said after the final on Sunday. “I’m playing next year. Why wouldn’t you?!”
“I’ve loved having a slightly different role. I’m more of a mentor in this team and I’m enjoying the mentoring side off the pitch as much as anything…I’ve actually enjoyed the captaincy more than I have in the last few years.”
For Edwards, too, the idea that players might move between teams is a difficult one to swallow:
“Don’t try and move any of us! This is better than Super Fours where you got moved every week… Everyone is firmly in allegiance with their team.”
Indeed, the ECB might well look to Super Fours – the previous development competition, begun in 2002, which pitted the best 48 players in England against each other – as a learning experience; the teams were so unsettled that no side could really ever develop a proper fanbase, and the competition became purely a selection exercise towards the end of its life.
Edwards recognises, though, that trying to keep the teams stable creates a “headache” for the ECB:
“We [the Vipers] have lost two England contracted players so we’re going to actually gain two England players in our group. It’ll be interesting to see how they go about that, because there’s going to be certain players who don’t want to move.”
Certainly the need for a balanced competition will need to be balanced carefully by the ECB with sustaining the fan loyalty which has built up over the last few weeks.
It is going to be an interesting 12 months!