VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 11

Raf and Syd discuss the success of the CRICKETish Cup; Cricket Australia’s summer schedule; the challenges of reopening big sporting venues to the public; the UK government’s plans for the resumption of elite sport; and the latest on the domestic retainers.

Plus… via the magic of green screen… where and when are we?

VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 10

Raf & Syd are (virtually!!) at Lords for this evening’s final of the CRICKETish Cup – follow @WomensCricDay for all the cyberaction from 6pm! They discuss the value of the new domestic retainers and contracts in England, England’s evolving plans for trying to get some cricket this summer, a possible reduced WBBL, and the ICC’s Back to Cricket guidelines.

NEWS: ECB Confirm Domestic Retainers From June 1st

As predicted in our weekly vodcast, the ECB have confirmed that domestic retainers will be introduced from June 1st, in order to partially compensate players who were hoping to receive one of 40 new domestic contracts, which were supposed to have started at the beginning of this summer.

The ECB have said that up to 24 women will receive a retainer, which will come with reciprocal obligations on the players to start work on taking their anti-corruption and anti-doping education modules online, as well as following strength and conditioning programmes at home throughout the lockdown.

The ECB have not said how much the retainers are worth or who will receive them, though the implication appears to be that the players will be selected by the Regional Directors of Women’s Cricket at the 8 new Centres of Excellence, which were also confirmed last week.

VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 9

Raf & Syd discuss when and how England might return to training; hosts for the Regional Centres of Excellence; retainers & match fees for domestic players; the postponement of the World Cup qualifier; and when might big cricket stadiums be able to reopen?

Plus, this week we’re at yet another iconic cricketing venue – can you work out a) where we are, and b) which England player says this is her favourite ground?

VIDEO: The CRICKETher Vodcast – Social Isolation Edition – Episode 8

Raf & Syd discuss Tom Harrison’s appearance before the DCMS committee in Parliament, Clare Connor’s appearance before the media on Zoom, and the implications of a Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble.

Plus this week we’re in cyber-space to celebrate the launch of the CRICKETish Cup – a virtual women’s county cricket competition taking place later this month in cyber-space!

INTRODUCING: The CRICKETish Cup

The WHAT?

The CRICKETish Cup is a “virtual” women’s county cricket cup, played in cyber-space by the top 9 county teams! It will take place over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of this month, with a play-off, quarter finals, semi-finals and a final.

The WHY?

With no women’s county cricket happening this month, thanks to You Know What, the CRICKETish Cup is a bit of fun to keep women’s county cricket in the spotlight.

The HOW?

The CRICKETish Cup will simulate matches, using real stats from last year’s County Championship, combined with a big random element to keep things interesting. Syd wrote the software, in a programming language called C# (pronounced “C Sharp” – like the musical note), and we’ve entered all the stats from Play Cricket into a database.

Alongside @WomensCricDay, @WomensCricBlog and womenscricket.net, we will be bringing you all the action “live” on Twitter, with score updates and match reports.

The WHO?

All 9 Division 1 T20 teams have agreed to take part and have submitted their teams: Wales, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, North East Warriors, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Warwickshire.

The SMALL PRINT

Although the CRICKETish Cup uses real stats, the outcome is very much down to luck, so don’t sweat it if your favourite player gets out for a duck or gets whacked for 30 off an over – it is just a bit of fun!

LIVE DRAW

FIXTURES

PLAY-OFF (Fri 22 May at 6pm) – Wales v Somerset

QUARTER-FINAL 1 (Sat 23 May at 11am) – Durham v Play-Off Winner

QUARTER-FINAL 2 (Sat 23 May at 11am) – Sussex v Lancashire

QUARTER-FINAL 3 (Sat 23 May at 3pm) – Kent v Surrey

QUARTER-FINAL 4 (Sat 23 May at 3pm) – Hampshire v Warwickshire

SEMI-FINAL 1 (Sun 24 May at 11am) – Winner of QF 1 v Winner of QF 2

SEMI-FINAL 2 (Sun 24 May at 3pm) – Winner of QF 3 v Winner of QF 4

GRAND FINAL (Mon 25 May at 6pm) – Winner of SF 1 v Winner of SF 2

NEWS: Clare Connor Looking At Retainers For Some Domestic Players; But Admits Men’s Cricket May Take Priority This Summer

The ECB’s Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor, has admitted that following the cancellation of The Hundred there may be no professional women’s cricket at all played in England this summer, but has softened the blow with the announcement that the ECB are looking to introduce interim “retainers” for some players below England level to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking to members of the press via a Zoom conference call, Connor said that she remains steadfastly committed to her vision for the women’s game, in the face of the unprecedented possibility of a summer without cricket and a £380 million black hole in the ECB’s accounts.

Whilst admitting that “there is no part of the ECB that has been afforded ring-fenced funding”, Connor said that the £20 million allocated for women’s and girls cricket in 2020-21 was still the budget they were working to; and that the ECB was planning to address the financial worries of those who had been hoping for full-time domestic “Centres of Excellence” [CoE] contracts this season by awarding a number of “financial retainers” to tide them over.

Although these retainers would not quite be a full time salary, they would be part-way to full professionalism, with the players being expected to commit to a full Strength & Conditioning program, overseen by their CoE coaches, as well as undertaking mandatory anti-corruption and anti-doping education programs online.

With the ECB facing an enormous financial deficit, Connor conceded that bringing in revenue by playing men’s Tests, behind closed doors but on TV, may have to take priority over playing women’s internationals:

“We’ve got long-term ambitions for the [women’s] game that extend beyond this summer, and trying to protect as much investment as possible over the next five years is largely going to come down to how much international men’s cricket can be staged this summer.”

However, she said that she remained hopeful that at least some international women’s cricket could be staged this season.

England’s series against India has been postponed but at this stage not officially cancelled, and the later series against South Africa is in theory still on the calendar “as was”. But with only a limited number of bio-secure venues available, Connor admitted that prioritising the men’s games, which would bring in the money the game as a whole desperately needs, could be “a hit we might have to take”.