Cricket Australia will launch a women’s version of its popular Big Bash Twenty20 competition from next season.
The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) will feature eight teams for its initial run in 2015-16. These sides will align with those already competing in the men’s BBL and the tournament will be the first franchise-based domestic competition in women’s cricket.
As in the BBL, there will be two teams in each of Melbourne and Sydney, meaning the two most dominant T20 teams from the current women’s competition in Australia – the NSW Breakers and VicSpirit – will be split across four franchises. Canberra team Tradies Meteors will miss out in the re-modelled competition.
A tournament format is yet to be confirmed for the WBBL, which will be managed by Australia’s state associations.
"We see T20 as the premium format of the women's game and the WBBL is an exciting concept that will increase the promotion and exposure of women's cricket," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said. "We want cricket to be the number one sport for girls and women in Australia and we believe that the WBBL can assist this goal by creating an inspiring visible pathway for the next generation of players, fans and volunteers.
"Our existing female domestic competitions are arguably the strongest in the world, with the continued success of the top-ranked women's team a testament to that. The WBBL will build on this foundation and will create a clear participation pathway for girls and their families, who are already engaged with cricket through the BBL.”
The men’s BBL was relaunched in 2011-12, switching from a state to city-based franchise format, and has proved a great success for Cricket Australia.