The PCA has today welcomed the newly contracted domestic female players to the Association in what is a landmark moment in the history of the women’s game in England and Wales.
Female international players have been PCA members since 2011 but as the domestic women’s game turns professional, an additional group of 41 contracted players, made up of five individuals from each of the eight new regional centres (with Western Storm and Glamorgan funding a sixth), will benefit from membership.
There will be 32 new players joining as PCA members, alongside the England rookie players who are transferring to the regional structure and a number of former England players, including three World Cup winners.
It is the biggest step forward in the professionalism of the women’s game in England and Wales since 2014, when the playing England Women squad at that time were awarded professional contracts for the first time in history. Currently, there are 17 contracted England players meaning 58 professional female cricketers will play the game in 2021.
The development is the result of months of negotiations between the PCA, the ECB and the 18 first-class counties, and follows on from a successful summer of women’s domestic cricket, which recovered from the postponement of the inaugural Hundred to feature the one-off Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
The PCA has been in contact with the new professionals over recent months to offer them support and guidance around their contracts and last week Chief Executive Rob Lynch led a Zoom meeting with the new players and members of PCA staff to be officially inducted into their Association.
PCA President Graham Gooch welcomed the new members to the Association: “The cricket community is a tight-knit one, and the PCA welcomes the 41 new female professional players into our family with open arms.
“The PCA has been pivotal in working with the ECB to develop the professionalism of the women’s game, and the new domestic structure is another positive development as we aim to make professional cricket in England and Wales accessible to all.”
England captain and PCA Vice Chair Heather Knight, who has been instrumental in advocating for the progression of the women’s game, echoed Gooch’s sentiment: “Having been involved in negotiations throughout, I’ve seen first-hand the work that’s gone into making this historic moment for English women’s cricket happen.
“The current female PCA membership can’t wait to welcome the players into a new professional era for the sport that we all love.”
Southern Vipers skipper Georgia Adams, who is amongst the new cohort having been named the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy MVP, expressed her excitement at joining the PCA: “On the back of what turned into a great summer for women’s cricket with the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, it’s fantastic to be a part of another huge step forward for women’s cricket in this country.
“My fellow new professionals and I are excited to get started with the PCA, both to enjoy the benefits that come with membership but also so we can safeguard the future of the female domestic game for generations to come.”