Hundred delay will rob women's game of momentum, fears Edwards

For several uncontracted female cricketers in England, the new league was to be their only source of income this year.

Former England captain Charlotte Edwards.   -  Getty Images

Women's cricket risks losing momentum after the launch of The Hundred competition was postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, former England captain Charlotte Edwards said.

The women's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia proved a massive success this year with an 86,000-plus crowd watching the host beat India in the March 8 final in Melbourne.

The global health crisis has since halted professional cricket and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week decided to postpone The Hundred, which was scheduled to begin in mid-July.

The innovative franchise-based league includes an American sports-style draft and features eight city-based men's and women's teams with names such as London Spirit, Manchester Originals and Trent Rockets.

READ| Katie Levick devastated with The Hundred postponement

“There are so many mixed emotions really,” Edwards, who led England to Twenty20 and one-day World Cup titles in 2009, told BBC World Service.

“Obviously it's the right decision but it was such an important year for women's cricket on the back of the hugely successful World Cup in Australia, where nearly 90,000 people watched the game.

“We just really felt the momentum was with the women's game and we were also going to introduce contracts this summer for 40 professional cricketers, and it's all been put on hold at the moment,” the 40-year-old said.

For several uncontracted female cricketers in England, the new league was to be their only source of income this year.

READ: Hundred launch postponed until 2021

“A lot of players were hoping to have contracts for the Hundred, which were quite lucrative for some of them, and everyone's going to miss out which is so unfortunate and at such an important time for women's cricket,” Edwards said.

The ECB still plans to award 40 new full-time contracts at some stage as part of a plan to invest 20 million pound ($24.9 million) in the women's game.

“We have been guaranteed that the ECB will still go ahead with their 20 million pound investment into the women's game, which is something that is obviously keeping us all going at the moment,” Edwards said.

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