England Will Not Release Players For Women's International Cricket League
England has increased the rhetoric against plans for a privately run women’s cricket tournament and stressed that it "will not be releasing its centrally contracted players to play in it," according to Andy Wilson of the London GUARDIAN. "Sketchy" details of the Women’s Int'l Cricket League have emerged over the last couple of months, with former Southern Stars all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar "named as the driving force behind the plans." The England & Wales Cricket Board dismissed claims that the competition has endorsement from Cricket Australia and the Int'l Cricket Council, stressing instead that "the development of the women’s game should be left to the ICC and national governing bodies." ECB Head of Women’s Cricket and CC Women’s Committee Chair Clare Connor said, "There has been a lot of misleading and as yet unsubstantiated information around how far advanced the proposed WICL is." ECB Chair Giles Clarke, who has been a leading advocate of the women’s game, said, "Put simply, there is no support or interest for this proposed event" (GUARDIAN, 6/4). The BBC reported the proposed league "could see leading players earn" £23,500 ($39,000) in only 12 days. The tournament "would bring together the best female players in the world to play in six company-owned teams during a 12-day event in Singapore." England captain Charlotte Edwards, 34, said that she would want to play -- "but only if the competition was officially approved." Edwards: "It's a wonderful opportunity for top players. Nothing has been ratified by the ICC, but these things are exciting for the game and as England players you want to be part of it" (BBC, 6/4). EMIRATES247 reported the ECB "has put its faith in the new ICC International Women's Championship, a one-day tournament which will lead to qualification for the 2017 World Cup." Connor: "The immediate focus for international women's cricket is the ICC International Women's Championship, which the ICC board approved in January. For the first time ever, the top eight-ranked women's teams in the world will play each other in a bi-lateral competition. ... This is a real game changer for the women's game" (EMIRATES247, 6/4).