Exciting time for women's sport
IT'S an exciting time to not just be a female Australian cricketer, but to be a female Australian sportswoman, according to Sydney Sixers cricketer, Emily Leys.
Leys was at Lennox Head on Tuesday as part of the Sydney Sixers Beach Blast cricket clinic, with about 100 kids joining in the fun.
She has been part of the Sixers in the Women's Big Bash League for its first three years, and in the team which won the Big Bash the season before last.
The Women's Big Bash League is a Twenty-20 competition that is growing in popularity, partly thanks to television coverage.
While the pay dispute between Australia's cricketers and Cricket Australia turned into a very public spat, Leys said she and other domestic players are the beneficiaries, ensuring the strength of cricket at the top level into the future.
The payment pool for female cricketers in particular went from $7.5 million to $55.2 million, touted in August by the Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson as the biggest pay rise in the history of women's sport.
Leys works part-time as a physiotherapist in Sydney.
She said the "extra support” she receives from cricket was "really helpful”, and she can see a time when more female cricketers can become full-time professional sportswomen.
She began her journey in the game when she was growing up on a farm in Gunnedah.
"I grew up with three brothers, and I played everything with them,” she said.
At junior level, the 24-year-old was one of a few girls who played with the boys in the local competitions.
She didn't play in female-only team until she was in her mid teens.
As for the public fight between Cricket Australia and the male players, Leys doesn't think that had anything to do with the current poor showing by the Test and ODI teams.
She said the loss to Bangladesh in the first test after the pay agreement was more to do with "difficult conditions” and injuries rather than the team not having their minds on the job.
She said some of the top men's players didn't gain much financially out of the pay deal, but were fighting to improve the lot for the likes of herself and other domestic players.