New Zealand's top female cricketers to be paid
New Zealand's top 10 women cricketers will be paid as semi-professional athletes in a landmark move set to follow the professionalisation of women's cricket in England and Australia.
The cricketers, named today, will be awarded annual contracts under the terms of a new memorandum of understanding between New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association - something their male counterparts have been afforded for years.
The 10 contracted players are:
Suzie Bates (Otago Volts)
Samantha Curtis (Auckland Hearts)
Sophie Devine (Wellington Blaze)
Holly Huddleston (Auckland Hearts)
Hayley Jensen (Canterbury Magicians)
Felicity Leydon-Davis (Northern Spirit)
Sara McGlashan (Auckland Hearts)
Morna Nielsen (Northern Spirit)
Katie Perkins (Auckland Hearts)
Rachel Priest (Wellington Blaze)
Veteran all-rounder Nicola Browne opted out of consideration as her job with the Hamilton City Council means she cannot commit to every tour.
A leading White Fern on a retainer contract could earn about $25,000 per year while still having the opportunity to complete other work or study. Top Black Caps players earn six-figure salaries with the opportunity to earn much more from lucrative T20 contracts.
The women's contract retainers will be tiered from $10,000 to $12,000 per annum; daily assembly fees will be paid to all players selected for training camps and international tours, and those chosen from outside the 10 annual retainer contracts will receive a casual playing contract.
It is the first time New Zealand women have been retained on annual contracts for playing cricket - previously they were only paid assembly fees when training and playing for the White Ferns.
In February the England women's cricket team, who retained the Ashes in Australia last summer, was made fully professional, and the Australian women's cricket team received large pay rises last year.
In Australia the maximum player retainer is $52,000 and the minimum, $25,000. Their top female cricketers can earn $70,000 to $80,000 a year.
NZC head of cricket Lindsay Crocker said by giving women's players contracts it was hoped the best players would be able to stay in the game for longer.
"It provides a training structure between tours so our leading players can compete at international level while still maintaining full time employment outside cricket."
Players will not be expected to train during normal business hours so they can study or work as well as play cricket.
Crocker said NZC were, at this point, unable to emulate Cricket Australia or the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Henry Moore from the players' association said securing contracts for women players was crucial in advancing the game.
"We believe we have taken a significant step forward with the introduction of 10 annual retainer contracts."
The memorandum of understanding would be up for negotiation in two years.
"At that point both parties will sit down to consider the initiative's success and possible expansion," Crocker said.
Newly-appointed White Ferns coach Hamish Barton will name the top 10 contracted players today.