Sydney, May 18 (ANI): Australian women cricketers are set to take a major leap towards professionalism after Cricket Australia's (CA) expected announcement of a major improvement in pay and conditions for female players next week when it unveils the women's Ashes squad.
The success of the national team the Southern Stars and the sacrifices women make to play domestic and international cricket, will also be acknowledged at an official celebration of the women's game in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Indian-born Australian cricketer Lisa Sthalekar, who retired after the Stars' World Cup triumph in February, said that the team is getting closer to realizing the hope of calling cricket their profession.
Sthalekar, who has witnessed the evolution from battling to cover costs, to modest contracts, to semi-professionalism, said that CA have realised that they need to pay the women players appropriately for the time and effort they put into the game.
Stating that the women's team has been concerned for a number of years about the standard of the national league in view of the fact that players leave after the age of 25, Sthalekar said that the new proposals will lengthen careers and make the players train hard, instead of working or studying full-time.
The report further said that Sthalekar, who sits alongside male stars Michael Hussey and George Bailey on the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) executive, took unpaid time off from her job with Cricket New South Wales to improve all-rounders performance.
Until now, the Southern Stars have been paid substantially less than their English rivals, despite winning the Ashes, the World Twenty20 title and the World Cup, the report further said.
A concerted effort has also been made to improve the lot of women in domestic cricket, with contracts to be extended to state players, the report added. (ANI)