Mooney dreams of a bigger stage for female cricketers
THERE are three main things cricketer Beth Mooney wants to see in the next three years of her career.
"Three years from now?" the Hervey Bay product responded.
"Um, it's hard to answer. If you asked me five years ago (where I'd see myself and the game) it wouldn't be as it is now."
Two of those things - increased pay for domestic players and wider exposure for women's cricket - have taken time, but the Women's Big Bash League has accelerated the process for the likes of Mooney and her Queensland teammates Jemma Barsby and Grace Harris.
The base rate for Australia's best female cricketers is now $80,000. That figure combines Southern Stars and WBBL duties, but can exceed six figures when match payments and tour fees are included.
Australia's best domestic cricketers will earn $26,000.
"Hopefully we'll see the domestic players getting paid more so they can be full-time, and we'd love to see a lot more newspapers and media covering the sport," Mooney said.
The inaugural WBBL in 2015-16 was a major step forward in terms of gender equality in the sporting arena.
It replaced the Women's National Cricket League Twenty20 Cup, and better-aligned female players with their male counterparts who had already played in four editions of the enormously popular, franchise-based Big Bash League.
Only 10 WBBL games were broadcast live on free-to-air (three on TEN, the other seven on ONE) last season, that number will increase to 12 for the 2016-17 WBBL.
Mooney's wish for wider exposure was granted by Cricket Australia, which decided to stream all non-television games through its website, Cricket Australia Live app, and Facebook.
Every fan, regardless of where they are, will be able to watch as Mooney, Southern Stars Holly Ferling and Jess Jonassen, are joined by Indian prodigy Smitri Mandhana and West Indian star Deandra Dottin in leading the Brisbane Heat to the crown.
Mandhana has good form on Australian pitches having scored her maiden One Day International century at Hobart's Bellerive Oval in February.
Dottin, the Heat's first international signing, was the first woman to score a century in Twenty20 Internationals. Her 38-ball display of brute power remains the fastest century for any cricketer, either male or female.
"We always talk a lot about exposure, and nothing is as good as it can be. In the WBBL, we're showing we can go as well as the men," Mooney said.
"(The Heat) have to play better as a team and make the finals this season.
"The thing about the WBBL is you get to play with your mates every weekend, and I really enjoy being with this group."
The third of Mooney's wishlist items is a place in Australia's squad for next year's Women's World Cup, which is dependent on the wicket-keeper's form with bat and glove, and the opinions of the national team's selectors.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a hot start to November as she smashed an unbeaten 95 in the Governor-General's XI game against South Africa and followed that up with 146 to guide Queensland past Victoria into the Women's National Cricket League final.
She earned three more caps for the Southern Stars' series against South Africa, scoring 14 and 20 in her two innings, before a first-ball duck in the WNCL final against New South Wales on December 3.
Mooney's WBBL campaign could not have started any worse.
She was dismissed with the first ball of their season-opening match against Sydney Sixers, then made only four in their second clash.
The Women's Big Bash League continues today.