Australia’s elite women cricketers will be able to earn in excess of A$100,000 ($75,590) a year for the first time in the 2016-17 season after Cricket Australia announced significant pay increases for top players on Wednesday.
The increases for the players who make up the world number one ranked Southern Stars team are part of a strategy to make cricket “the sport of choice for women in Australia”, CA Chief Executive James Sutherland said in a statement.
“Cricket is a sport for all Australians and Cricket Australia will continue to invest heavily in the women’s game in the coming years,” he added.
“Of the more than 1.2 million people of all ages currently playing cricket in Australia almost a quarter of them are women and girls.
“That number continues to grow rapidly and we will continue to support females playing the game from backyard to baggy green.”
Top women players will now be able to earn a retainer of $65,000 a year for representing their country and $15,000 from Women’s Big Bash League teams which, when combined with match and tour fees, would take their earnings into six figures.
Cricket Australia said its spending on elite women’s cricket would increase from A$2.36 million to A$4.23 million and the players could also expect improved accommodation as well as less training in the week to enable them to work or study.
The Southern Stars lost to West Indies in the World Twenty20 final last weekend but remain top of the world rankings ahead of England.
The earning potential of the women players still lags a long way behind their male counterparts, however, with all-rounder Shane Watson taking home A$4.5 million in 2014 from salary and endorsements, according to Australian magazine BRW.