Suzie Bates welcomes stand-alone women's fixtures

New Zealand's Suzie Bates has welcomed stand-alone fixtures in the new Super League domestic T20 tournament for women and has said it will help create an organic fanbase for women's cricket.

Suzie Bates..."Hopefully we'll be creating our own fanbase and on some of the smaller grounds we can fill it out."   -  Vivek Bendre

New Zealand's Suzie Bates has welcomed stand-alone fixtures in the new Super League domestic T20 tournament for women and has said it will help create an organic fanbase for women's cricket. All matches in the tournament are stand-alone fixtures.

"I guess (a double-header) has its advantages and disadvantages, you get to play at some of the main grounds and get the fans in towards the end of the game," said Bates.

"With this competition, hopefully we'll be creating our own fanbase and on some of the smaller grounds we can fill it out, get lots of girls down to the ground, rather than always piggy-backing off the men."

Former England captain Charlotte Edwards, who will be a teammate of Bates' again at the Southern Vipers after their pair played alongside other in the Women's Big Bash League for the Perth Scorchers, added: "I think it's great that we've got stand-alone games here; you'll probably get a good gauge of where the women's game's at from the crowds we're hopefully going to attract.

Six specially created teams will compete in the Super League from July 30 to August 21, with a 50 overs per side element added next year ahead of the Women's World Cup in England and Wales next year. But Edwards was in no doubt that Twenty20, the shortest of cricket's professional formats, was the way to showcase women's cricket to a new audience.

"We've learnt over a period of time that the T20 format is the best way to promote the game and I think this is a great opportunity to do that again," said Edwards. "I think it's a great way to attract people to watch - we want it to be an energetic and dynamic game which hopefully attracts young girls to play.

"It's going to be a 50-over competition before the World Cup next summer and the T20 afterwards, so it's exciting times," Edwards added.

England and Australia have been the dominant nations in women's cricket for most of Bates' career but the success of West Indies in winning the World Twenty20 earlier this year was evidence of an increasingly competitive global game.

"New Zealand had six players in the Big Bash League and our team's gone from strength to strength, with our top players getting exposure to competitive cricket and pressure situations," Bates said.

"So I think it'll strengthen South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand and hopefully we can keep competing with England and Australia, who've been top dogs for a while now. I think everyone agrees if we can have six to eight teams worldwide competing regularly, it's going to be good for the women's game."

(With inputs from agencies)

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