Senior members of Australia’s triumphant women’s World T20 cricket team believe it’s just a matter of time before they are embraced as full-time professionals.
The squad was honoured at a reception in Sydney on Wednesday, just three days after clinching a record third World T20 crown with a six-wicket win in the final over England in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Cricket Australia last year upgraded their women’s contracting system, increasing player retainers and payments.
However, all the Southern Stars still have to juggle cricket with either work or study.
Captain Meg Lanning and her deputy Alex Blackwell both believe it won’t be too long before players at their level will be full-time professionals.
“I hope so, I don’t think it’s too far away,” Lanning said.
“Obviously if we’re very successful then that’s certainly going to help, but at the minute we’re very happy with the level of support we get, and I’m sure that in the future it will only increase.”
Fellow batswoman Blackwell, who first played international cricket in 2002-03, had similar expectations.
“It will happen sooner rather than later,” said Blackwell, who goes back to work on Wednesday.”
Lanning was confident Australia had the potential to maintain the success that has allowed them to win the last four ICC women’s World events across the T20 and one-day formats.
“If we can keep improving, I’ve no doubt we’ll be able to win a few more World Cups,” Lanning said.
Her confidence was shared by allrounder Ellyse Perry, who like Lanning is among eight players in the winning team under the age of 25.
“We’ve still got another three or four years to continue to develop and hopefully play even better and be quite dominant for years to come,” Perry said.
A humble Perry wasn’t quite ready to accept the proposition that the Southern Stars were Australia’s most successful sporting team, having won the last three World T20 titles and the most recent one-day World Cup.
“We’ve got so many wonderfully successful teams, but it’s very nice to be part of that now too,” Perry said.
While she was reluctant to talk football, dual international Perry hoped she would be able to fight her way back into the Matildas squad.
“I certainly still love playing both sports and I love the challenge of playing both sports. I’ll just see where that goes,” Perry said.