T20 WORLD CUP – England v Ireland: From Bazball To Baseball

They say that the USA and UK are two countries divided by a common language; and much the same could be said about cricket and baseball. They may share some basic characteristics, and even some terminology; but they are very different games, not least in their typical scorelines: while cricket measures its scores in hundreds, a baseball game will rarely end with more than a handful of runs being scored.

So to say that the last few overs of England’s match today against Ireland in Paarl felt a little like watching baseball is not exactly a compliment – especially after the exhibition of Bazball (or should that be… Jonball?) to which we had been treated earlier by Alice Capsey, hitting the joint-fastest ever T20 World Cup half century.

Having opted to bat first, Ireland got off to a pretty reasonable start, losing just one wicket towards the end of the powerplay, as Amy Hunter and Gaby Lewis played positively to take them to 42-1 at the 6-over mark.

Indeed the Irish kept chugging along at around-about a run-a-ball right up until the 13th over, when England brought back Sophie Ecclestone with Ireland well-placed at 80-2. Ecclestone’s impact was immediate – a double-wicket maiden, including the key scalp of Lewis, which turned the course of the game. From 80-2 Ireland went downhill on skis, before finally ending up face-down in a hedge in the 19th over at 105, having lost 8 wickets for 23 runs.

Although England’s 3 spinners shared the wickets around – Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn taking 3 apiece, and Dean 2 – Ecclestone’s importance as England’s “trump card” had already been underlined when she was brought into the attack in just the 3rd over, after the openers had gone for 18 in the first two overs. Ecclestone delivered then too, conceding just 3 – every time England need “something” it is her they turn to.

England’s reply saw Capsey into the action in the first over, after Dunkley holed-out; and she took little time to reassert her claim to be the most exciting young player in the world right now, hitting her 2nd and 3rd balls for consecutive boundaries. The punishment was just beginning for the Irish bowlers. Eimear Richardson went for 3 consecutive 4s in the 4th over, and probably shouldn’t have been given another at that stage, but she was, and she psychologically imploded – delivering 3 balls to Capsey which would have been wides with 9 sets of stumps, and having to watch as Capsey brutally slapped them for 3 more consecutive boundaries – the last a maximum to bring up her half century.

With England 69-1 at the end of the powerplay, it was on-course to be done inside 8 overs; but the dismissal of Capsey somehow spooked England – they started to lose more wickets and forgot how to score runs – losing 3 wickets in the 5-over “early middle” phase and making just 20 runs at a strike rate of under 75 – practically baseball territory, at least by the standards England have set themselves recently.

With plenty of time on their side, England were in a position to inch towards the Irish total, and inch they did, with Heather Knight requiring 23 balls to make her 14 runs; and then suffering a bit of a comedy-dismissal to put the cherry on the cake, as the ball wobbled like Mr Blobby on his way home from a long night out, onto the stumps after a mis-hit sweep.

At the end of the day, all that really matters is that England got the points and a healthy boost to their Net Run Rate, should they need it. But the last few overs did serve to remind us that whilst Capsey and Ecclestone are the kind of players who can make stuff happen, England don’t have the depth of Australia; and that whilst Australia can play badly and still make 170-odd, England aren’t quite at that level yet.

T20 WORLD CUP – England v West Indies: Paarl-ez Vous Bazball

With temperatures in the middle at Boland Park in Paarl pushing 40 degrees, the heat hardly needed to be turned up any more; but England did it anyway – winning the opening game of their T20 World Cup campaign with 5 overs to spare, thanks to a brutal batting display which will inevitably be compared to Bazball.

England have been acclimatising in South Africa for a couple of weeks now, but Paarl is always hotter than England’s base at Stellenbosch, closer to the coast near Cape Town; and locals here in Paarl say this is one of the hottest Februarys they can remember. The last place you want to be at the height of the afternoon is out in the field, but that’s exactly where England found themselves, having lost the toss with Hayley Matthews choosing to bat.

Matthews herself got off to a decent start, making 37off 23 balls in the powerplay. Unfortunately, as if to emphasise the Windies’ current dependence on Matthews, this was 90% of their runs off the bat during the powerplay, with Stafanie Taylor at the other end looking desperately out of touch. Matthews had admitted in the pre-match press conference that it was touch and go for Taylor coming back from injury, and she was eventually put out of her misery two balls after the end of the powerplay for just 3 off 15 balls.

England won’t be completely satisfied with the start they allowed the West Indies to make. Lauren Bell couldn’t get her lines right as she struggled to control her swing, and though she got away with it in her first over, conceding just 3, two of which were wides – one down leg and one down off – she wasn’t so fortunate in her second, as Matthews took her for 12, including 3 more wides. Brunt and Ecclestone also took some dents in their metalwork from Matthews.

But England’s spinners began to wrestle back control in the post-powerplay overs; with the West Indies Strike Rate dropping close to 75 in the early middle phase, mostly as a result of Matthews falling back as she failed to find a single boundary to add to the 8 4s she had struck during the powerplay before she was dismissed in the 11th over.

Nonetheless, the West Indies had enough wickets intact to be able to throw the bat a bit at the end, taking themselves from 106-3 to 135-7 in the death phase to give England something to chase.

As they’d promised to do, England came out of the traps at full pelt, with Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley hitting and running fearlessly. It is high-risk cricket – neither lasted the powerplay, and both could have been out even sooner than they were, but it gave England the kind of confident start that takes the pressure off everyone else, and later enabled Nat Sciver-Brunt and Heather Knight to play a slightly less risky (though ultimately no less productive) game through the middle overs to carry England to the win with 5 overs to spare.

The real positive from this is that it definitely feels like England had a lot more in the tank if they needed it. Nat Sciver-Brunt and Knight actually weren’t playing Bazball by the end, but they were still going at strike rates of 133 and 145 respectively.

At the end of the day, for all Heather Knight’s talk in the press conference of taking it one game at a time, she knows that this tournament isn’t about beating the West Indies in the opener – it is about beating Australia in the final, and England won’t do that unless they take a few risks. They haven’t suddenly become favourites for the tournament; but they’ve made a very positive start, and right now, that’s all we can ask.

OPINION: WPL Predictions – Expect A Lot Of Surprises!

By Andy Frombolton

When the men’s IPL launched, it was bringing a new product (T20) to a large existing (fanatical) market, whereas the WIPL is the complete opposite i.e. it’s bringing a recognised product to a small established fanbase (with the expectation that interest and demand can be grown). 

So, whilst launching the IPL wasn’t without risks (only KKR made money in the first few years), the IPL investors could look to other countries (the English and Australian T20 competitions) for reassurance that existing fans could be won over to the new format. As to finances, franchise owners were guaranteed their share of the central revenue (broadcast and tournament sponsorship) which could be supplemented by prize money and local revenue (share of ticket sales, merchandise and team sponsorship). Hence, there was a shared common objective to ensure the tournament’s success (thereby growing the shared revenue pool), and a franchise-level objective to assemble a successful team to both maximise your chances of securing prize money and also engender supporter loyalty for the new teams.

The WPL therefore faces slightly different challenges with its far-lower starting point in terms of fanbase, and considerably more uncertainty regarding the size of the future market. Data from the US, the UK and Europe shows steadily-building viewing figures as more women’s sport is broadcast, but extrapolating recent growth to make forecasts about future audiences is perilous. Will consumers of women’s sport be as dedicated / obsessive as many followers of men’s sport are? Will male viewers prove as willing to watch women’s sport as women are men’s (particularly if there’s an alternative men’s game to watch)? And most important of all, will the Asian market behave in the same way? 

In the UK, some reporting has adopted an almost romanticised view of the franchise owners’ motives – as though they’re driven by a deep love of women’s cricket. The reality, of course, is that they are business people, not philanthropists, who seek to monetise an under-exploited market. (If they thought they could make more money developing women’s football then that’s where they’d be investing all their money.)

So whilst it’s fun for we writers in the UK to draw up fantasy team lists comprising our favourite players and blithely assume that the same names will be on each owner’s ‘wish list’, their decisions won’t be driven by reputation or affection but solely by facts, data and risk/return analysis. 

We also need to recognise how unimportant we (English fans) are to the project’s success. Looking at viewing figures for the 2020 IPL, the domestic Indian TV audience for the opening game was 200 million, whilst the UK audience averaged 168,000 and peaked at 234,000. At approximately 1% of viewing figures, UK interest in the IPL is both a statistical and financial irrelevance (with Australian, South African and New Zealand viewing figures even less so), and there’s no rationale to believe that the WIPL will be any different. The only market which really matters is the Indian market. And next will be target markets which are perceived to offer far greater growth potential such as Bangladesh and Thailand, and beyond them South America, USA and eventually China.

Consequently, for these 2 reasons, we may be over-estimating how many international players are going to be involved. 

There are only 3 reasons to have overseas players in your domestic team: 

  1. Performance. An overseas player is considerably better than any domestic equivalent. These are your premium players. 

    However, having internationals plugging the gaps simply perpetuates current weaknesses and the BCCI will be keen that the WIPL develops talent for the national team. Any recruitment will come with an expectation that teams rapidly develop domestic replacements for future seasons.
  2. Star quality / totemic. A player whose star appeal / marketing impact goes beyond the objective value of their on-field performances.

    Although there are many players who current fans might deem ‘greats of the game’, they are largely unknown to the new target audience. However, starting from a low recognition point also brings benefits, as teams can shape who gets to become a new hero. Consequently, relatable players (“I want to be her” (cricket skills) or “I want to be like her” (image, life style)) might find themselves selected above players with better stats, simply because of their potential marketing appeal to the domestic (Indian) market.
  3. Strategic signings. Would the level of interest in any country increase in proportion to the number of players selected? On the one hand, it’s unlikely that UK interest would increase dramatically if there were e.g. 10 English players involved instead of 5, yet having e.g. 2 Thai players involved could mean the difference between ‘no interest’ and ‘significant interest’ in that market. Canny teams with an eye on the future may therefore pick more than one associate player.

Quite simply, the WIPL launch doesn’t need overseas players in the same way that the IPL did. Most of the new target audience doesn’t know much about women’s cricket and even less about most of the individual players. Also, the tournament is short and hence teams don’t need much contingency for injury or rotation.

Therefore, just because each franchise is allowed a maximum of 6 overseas players from the ‘established’ nations, my prediction is that the sensible ones won’t recruit that many. Why pay for 6 when you could instead pay a premium to guarantee getting your 4 priority international players, whilst also paying your domestic and associate players more (thereby engendering their loyalty)? Assuming they remain fit, these 4 will play every game – so why pay 2 internationals to carry drinks? And if a team really felt that it needed another international player they could still stick to this basic strategy and recruit a ‘cheap’ proven player (such as a Tess Flintoff or Tara Norris), who could ‘do a job’ if required but would recognise the career benefits of simply being ‘in and around’ the tournament. Moreover, having now seen the reserve prices for the shortlisted players, it’s reasonable to predict that many have simply priced themselves out of contention – especially if there’s a bidding war for some of the top players which leaves a smaller-than-planned budget to complete the squad.

Also, making money on the WIPL requires teams to build brand loyalty which is greatly facilitated by having the same international players return each year. Unfortunately, this might work against older players (however talented). 

So, what types of players are best placed to win contracts?

To win games, you need to put big scores on the board, but only 10 batters strike consistently at >120 at international level, of whom only 2 are Indian (Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma). There are then 11 batters who strike at 110-120, of whom only 1 (Jemimah Rodrigues) is Indian. So, any team would want 2 of the top 8 non-Indian strikers and might consider a third player from the second group if they also bring something with the ball, keep wicket or are a dynamic fielder.

Similarly, teams need bowlers with the proven capability to remove the best batters, since if you take out a team’s top 3-4 batters it becomes almost irrelevant who the next batters are (since none of them score at much more than SR100). 

In women’s cricket, slow bowlers are generally more economical than faster ones, but with respect to strike bowlers no single ‘type’ of bowling dominates – it’s all about the individual. And a quick deep dive quickly differentiates which bowlers routinely take out the best batters and whose figures are flattered by ‘cheap’ lower-order wickets. 

My ‘Top 20’ internationals (who gets picked after this depends which teams secure the services of these players): 

Premium Prestige

(I’m assuming Harmanpreet Kaur, Mandhana and Deepti Sharma will captain 3 of the franchises)

  • E. Perry (captain)
  • S. Devine (captain)


  • B. Mooney (wk)
  • A. Healy (wk)
  • D. Wyatt
  • G. Harris
  • A. Jones (wk)
  • S. Dunkley
  • A. Capsey


  • G. Wareham
  • M. Schutt
  • S. Ecclestone
  • S. Glenn
  • D. Brown


  • D. Dottin
  • A. Kerr
  • T. McGrath
  • A. Gardner
  • C. Tryon
  • H. Matthews

And if I was selecting a team …?

  • Wyatt (SR 125, no weakness against any type of bowling, great outfielder)
  • Mooney (SR 125, superb fielder but should keep wicket)
  • Dottin (batting SR 123, also ‘top 10’ strike bowler)
  • Ecclestone (superb bowling SR, equally effective at any stage of an innings, massively-undervalued batter)
  • (Associate) Chantham (Thailand) 

Auction day is going to be a fascinating day!

The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 150

This week:

  • You Ask Us: Pitches in the U19 World Cup & Optics in The Hundred
  • Were CSA right to drop Dane van Niekerk, and how high a bar is 2km in 9:30?
  • What counts as personal data in cricket?
  • How much does “experience” matter in umpiring?

FROM THE FUTURE: 2023 T20 World Cup Final – Report

By our time-travelling contributor Andy Frombolton

The competition for the right to play Australia in the 2023 T20 World Cup Final went pretty much as predicted.

Most of the teams enjoyed some pre-tournament practice; although the quality varied significantly and didn’t test the stronger teams. England came into the series having defeated Hayley Matthews before Christmas, whilst NZ similarly dispatched Bangladesh; Australia saw off Pakistan and most recently South Africa played West Indies and India. The results of these various series seemed to merely confirm the obvious power hierarchy with the losing opposition probably gaining far more from these games than the largely-untested victors. Again, nothing in the friendlies or the warm-up games alluded to a shifting in the rankings and provided little scope for experimentation. As with all the various pre-tournament series, it was disappointing how often the weaker teams (whether by their choice or insertion) batted first in these games; meaning many batters started the tournament seriously short of match practice.

Beyond the actual results, observers may perhaps look back at this tournament for 3 reasons.

Firstly, it constituted the moment when (hopefully) the administrators of Australian, English and Indian women’s cricket finally realised that it’s not much fun (nor is it helpful for the development of the international game) playing countries who simply aren’t very good and, more to the point, which have little prospect of becoming much better in the near future unless ‘The Big 3’ seize the initiative to help them improve by funding player exchanges, loaning them coaches and giving them lots of quality match practice . including low key series against development squads. There were far too many mismatches – to the point where some opined that, having so long sought a wider audience for the women’s game, this tournament may have done as much harm as good with many fans left disappointed at the standard of cricket and the cynics feeling validated.

Secondly, it was also the last tournament played before the advent of the WIPL when the whole world was to change for a small number of players. With the potential for life-changing amounts to be earned, it was perhaps inevitable that this impacted some performances; often imperceptibly, always unconsciously. But who could blame a player in possible contention for a WIPL contract for not throwing themselves quite so vigorously around on the boundary to save a couple of runs (with the resultant risk of injury) if the result was not going to be impacted or if a batter chasing a low target was possibly more focussed on scoring runs for themselves than taking risks to win the game early? Some even suggested (without any proof) that this was why, contra to previous tournaments, so many of the major teams elected to bat first because inserting the opposition and dismissing them for a low score wouldn’t leave much opportunity for batters to impress the WIPL selectors.

Thirdly, there was a significant shift in the level of analysis and scrutiny which performances were subject to. Suddenly, there was a lot more data available and opposition teams were using it – with the consequence that life suddenly became much harder for many players. The truly good players serenely carried on being very good, but many others were found out. Who knew Player X simply couldn’t score once you cut off her 2 best shots? Now, every batter knows that bowler Y changes their run-up when they bowl their googly (and that it’s usually short). And “there’s always 2 to Player Z” because they have a weak throw. More was expected of players generically, in respect of general athleticism and skills, and the commentators were more willing to call out any instances which fell beneath the new higher benchmarks. Many players relished the chance to showcase their skills, but not all coped well under the new regime.

The group stages went very much as expected – a series of mismatched games between the Big 5 and the rest. (Or, to better recognise the relative status of the teams, … “between ‘The Big 1’, ‘The Next 2’, and ‘Numbers 4 and 5‘ and the rest”.) The other teams played with conviction, spirit and enjoyed moments which hinted at their potential, but unfortunately many games didn’t make for riveting viewing.

In Group A there was the question of whether South Africa or New Zealand would take second place; a question answered in their head-to-head when the Kiwis, several of their veterans seemingly inspired by the prospect of what might possibly be their last outing on the world stage, dispatched a spirited South African team desperately missing DvN’s captaincy nous, lacking the necessary spinning options and missing the batting power to chase down NZ’s impressive total built on the back of Devine’s brutal 80 at a SR of 150. In the wooden spoon game Bangladesh thrashed Sri Lanka to underpin how far standards have fallen there (and also how much Bangladesh had improved).

In Group B, whilst there was never any real doubt which teams would take the top 2 slots, both India and England still managed those moments of fallibility which so exasperates fans and commentators alike. Playing their first 2 games at Boland Park, several England batters took advantage of the ball travelling further in the thin air to clear the ropes, albeit against inexperienced and variable bowling attacks. Neither game did much to prepare the team for the challenges of facing a more skilful Indian attack.

India meanwhile ruthlessly dispatched Pakistan and West Indies, their batters similarly taking advantage of the small boundaries and poor fielding.

Come the India v England match at Gqeberha (formerly Port Elisabeth), England fielded a batting-heavy team, won the toss, chose to bat first and swiftly found themselves reduced to 25-4; three of the batters failing to clear the ropes at sea level as they’d done at Boland Park. It took some slow but skilful rebuilding by the middle order and some late bludgeoning by K Sciver-Brunt and Ecclestone to get England to what still looked like a severely below-par score. However, as everyone knows, it’s bowling attacks which win T20s, not batters, and fortunately all England’s bowlers utilised the conditions well with Amy Jones standing up to the stumps to everyone, inducing first frustration and then mistakes from Mandhana and Kaur. England scraped home by 8 runs.

England being England, they then nearly made a complete mess of chasing 110 in their final group match against Pakistan but still ended atop of Group B.

The 2 semi-finals – as is so often the case in global tournaments – constituted the best 2 games of the whole tournament.

England versus NZ was a probably the best game of all. The 2 teams had already met recently in 3 friendlies and 1 warm up, so each knew everything about the other’s strengths and weaknesses. With Knight forced to sit the game out following some inflammation to her hip, England found themselves unexpectedly captained, not by official vice captain Sciver-Brunt, but by Ecclestone – coach Jon Lewis demonstrating his willingness to move on from the previous regime. Denied their preference to bat first, England deployed surprise tactics and opened with spin at both ends and at the end of the powerplay NZ were just 30-2 with Bates and Kerr both back in the dugout. Excited pundits urged England to press home their advantage given NZ’s lack of batting depth, using Dunkley’s occasional part-time spin if necessary, but rather than continue with what had worked, Ecclestone seemed to lose her confidence in the tactic and brought on N. Sciver-Brunt and Bell in the middle overs. Pace on the ball was what Green and Devine had wanted with the small outfield and the following 10 overs was carnage as NZ reached 120-3 off 16. A couple of missed half-chances and some targeting of England’s 5th / 6th bowlers didn’t help and 150 or even 160 looked a distinct possibility. However, the (with hindsight) inspired decision to deploy the rarely-used Danni Wyatt to bowl the 17th over saw 2 wickets fall and Ecclestone and Cross closed out the innings with tight bowling which was too good for the NZ middle order.

141 was still a tough target though and things looked bleak when England lost 2 wickets in the first 3 overs (Wyatt again caught on the boundary and Capsey not making it home for a sharp second run). Thereafter Dunkley and N. Sciver-Brunt settled the nerves and kept up with the run rate until the 14th over whereafter 4 wickets fell for just 7 runs and it took Dean, seizing her chance in Knight’s absence, to smash 18 off 5 balls and see England home with 1 ball to spare.

In the other semi-final, India provided Australia with a huge scare. 3 wickets in the powerplay saw Australia’s middle order – so rarely tested in the past 2 years – required to deliver. Watched on by Grace Harris, cursed to have been born in the only country where she and her sister wouldn’t be permanent fixtures in the national squad, Mooney, Perry and Gardener delivered a masterclass in manoeuvring the bowling and sharp running. Australia’s 172-5 looked formidable, but fans who’d watched Australia’s pre-Christmas tour where India had twice scored more than 180 batting second knew that this Indian team wouldn’t think this total was beyond them especially if the Madhana-Kaur show came to town.

After 6 overs, India’s score stood at 72-0. Australia had already used 5 bowlers and looked bereft of ideas. They’d used 9 bowlers in the 3rd T20 against Pakistan and similarly-desperate tactics looked on the cards. However, as if written in the stars, Healey then took an incredible diving catch down the left to dimiss Mandhana, a riposte to those arguing that Mooney should have the gloves to make space for Harris, and thereafter Australia wrestled back control; India falling just 4 short when, after 2 warnings, Brown ran out Sharma for backing up too far off the final ball. (The English media loved this moment, accompanying the photo with the sub-editor’s witty caption ‘Karma for Sharma’.)

The Final saw Knight fit again and another sign that she and Jon Lewis were willing to make tough decisions with the dropping of Amy Jones whose keeping hadn’t been to her very-high standards for much of the tournament (which had seemingly impacted her confidence and thus her contributions with the bat ). Awarding the gloves to Winfield-Hill was the right decision for the moment and Jon Lewis tactfully declined to comment on anything to do with central contracts awarded before his appointment.

England won the toss and, having noted how the pitches got easier to play on in the SA20 as the day wore on, elected to field even though this would require them to chase, something they’d tended to avoid whenever possible in the previous few years.

Returning captain Knight chose not to replicate Ecclestone’s successful run-stifling-spin tactics and the openers started as Australia meant to go. 5 boundaries came from the first 2 overs – and no dot balls. Mooney (the ‘best player in the world’ if stats took proper account of fielding contributions) and Healey quickly induced several pieces of ragged fielding by alternating ‘walloping the ball’ with ‘tip and run’ and it took a great piece of fielding by Bouchier to run out Mooney. Luckily, England had picked 3 spinners for the final and this trio of England spinners, complemented by the routinely-(self)-under-deployed Knight, wrestled back a degree of control.

Still at the half way stage 167-6 looked a very good score on a wicket demonstrating variable bounce, and so it transpired to be.

168 equates to a SR of 140 and unfortunately England have only 1 batter with a proven ability to strike above 120 – Wyatt. To Wyatt, Brown came round the wicket, bowling full on her pads with the 6-3 offside field denied her any value for her shots again and again. For the other batters, Lanning revealed her ‘mind games’ masterstroke, bringing every fielder except 1 inside the inner circle to create a sneering ring of encroaching fielders. Denied the opportunity to take sharp singles and not able to go over the ring, runs dried up. After 10 overs, England were just 49-4; two skied shots, a terrible mix-up and a stumping (some maintained it should have been deemed ‘a run-out’ so far was the desperate batter down the wicket) accounting for the wickets. With the run rate over 12, the outcome was already decided but Lanning went for the kill bowling King and Gardner for 8 straight overs in tandem. The end, when it came, saw England all out for 112 with in the 18th over.

Australia thus retained the T20 world cup for the third time in a row whilst the 2nd, 3rd and 4th places broadly confirmed what everyone knew before the competition started. Australia are deserved and indisputable world champions (and their A side would have a good chance of being #2), India has leapt above England to warrant the #2 position, England are a potent side but lacking batting firepower, whilst South Africa and NZ have both peaked (for now).

So, ‘Well played Australia’, well done England and ‘Look out, world!’ for India’s star is in the ascendancy.

OPINION: There Will Be Losers As Well As Winners From The WPL

UPDATE: This piece was updated on 26/01/2023 in the light of further information about the distribution of TV money in the first 5 years of the competition.

The 5 successful bidders for the Indian WPL franchises have been announced by the BCCI, with teams set to be based in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

Collectively they have bid about half a billion pounds for 10-year franchises – i.e. around £50 million per year. It’s a lot of money, so we have to ask: is it sustainable?

It bears repeating that these are businesses – they aren’t doing this as an act of charity – they need to make that money back; and that might be an issue going forwards.

In the short term, the BCCI have agreed to give 80% of the TV rights income back to the franchises for the first 5 years of the competition; but after that, the franchises are going to be on their own, and will need to recoup their investment from sponsorships and merchandising.

Barclays title sponsorship of England’s (men’s football) Premier League is reckoned to be worth about £40m per year – i.e. 10 million a year less than the WPL franchises collectively need to generate just to break even on their initial investment. (And that’s ignoring operating costs, which will likely be non-trivial.)

So that’s the kind of ball-park the franchises are playing in, in the medium term – and it isn’t going to be easy money to find. The attraction of women’s sport to sponsors right now, mainly rests on the fact that it is “good value” (i.e. cheap) – but this will not be. Whoever takes on these sponsorships is going to need seriously deep pockets – much deeper pockets than we’ve seen in England or Australia for women’s cricket to date.

It’s a huge challenge that the franchises have set themselves up for, and my guess is that while most of them will muddle through, some will struggle financially to break even on their investment and won’t survive.

Women’s cricket used to be a nice cosy world – that’s all changing now, with the promise that the top players will benefit to the tune of (literally) millions.

But if the franchises can’t bridge the gap between what they’ve agreed to pay to the BCCI and what they can persuade the sponsors to pay them, it could all end in tears very quickly. Welcome to the jungle, folks – there will be winners and losers… and the losers will get eaten.

The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 148

On the CRICKETher Weekly:

  • U19 World Cup – Eng & NZ in pole position!
  • Controversies in Aus & South Africa – DvN dropped & CA’s scheduling clash
  • Pay bonuses in the Men’s Hundred… but not the women’s?
  • Why we need season tickets in regionals