Perry, Lanning headline WBBL launch

The major signings for the inaugural season of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) have been unveiled, with Australian captain Meg Lanning to play for the Melbourne Stars.

The T20 competition, launched on Friday in Sydney, begins in December and will replicate the men’s BBL with eight teams across six states.

Play will start on December 5 with a clash between the Brisbane Heat and Stars, before ending with the final on January 24.

Southern Stars allrounder Ellyse Perry, snapped up by the Sydney Sixers, said her decision to sign for the club was a natural one.

“The Sixers cover my local area so it was a pretty easy decision to sign,” she said.

“It’s really lovely to be involved, I’ve spent a lot of time at the SCG, I’ve been to their matches and really enjoy the atmosphere there.”

Crosstown rivals the Sydney Thunder have landed national strike bowler Rene Farrell, who says although team recruitment is still incomplete, she’s optimistic the squad will be competitive.

“I’ve heard of a few names that have pretty much signed on the dotted line, and that was part of the reason why I wanted to play for the Thunder,” she said.

“The people I’ve heard have signed fit into the club’s culture.

“Hopefully, we’ll be holding that trophy at the end of the season.”

The decision to take the women’s T20 game onto the national stage comes as Cricket Australia (CA) attempts to grow the women’s game at amateur and professional levels.

The sport’s organising body intends to invest an additional $600,000 into wages for female cricketers.

“Our goal is to see cricket become the sport of choice for women and girls across the nation, whether as participants or fans,” said CA executive Mike McKenna.

“We want young girls to know that they too can aspire to represent their favourite Big Bash team.”

Southern Stars captain Lanning said the competition provided young girls with a clear path into the world of professional cricket.

“(It’s) a really exciting thing to be a part of. I think it’s great there’s a clear pathway for young girls who want to get involved in cricket to come through,” she said.

Eight of the 59 WBBL games will be broadcast free to air on ONE.

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