Australia's thumping Twenty20 World Cup win over India in front of more than 86,000 supporters has been deemed a watershed moment in the history of women's cricket but Cricket Australia now faces the challenge of ensuring this momentum is not lost.
The Australian women's side is no stranger to a victory dance, having now claimed five of the seven Twenty20 World Cups. But this was considered particularly special – and important – for it came on home shores at a time when the local showcase product – the Women's Big Bash League – has been making ground.
The Australian team celebrates its win over India on Sunday night.Credit:Getty Images
CA hopes the success of the World Cup will be a boost for the WBBL, which Roberts said is expected to remain a standalone event next summer.
However, as batting superstar Alyssa Healy noted, next summer's event falls at the same time as the men's Twenty20 World Cup, also staged in Australia.
That will put pressure on families already time poor and with tight budgets, in a summer when there will still be so much international and domestic cricket to come. Pressure will also be on competing broadcasters desperate for eyeballs.
The Australian side also hopes the exposure generated through the World Cup adds to greater crowds and ratings for its home matches next summer.
Katy Perry with members of the Australian team on stage after their win.Credit:AAP
"Thinking about [Sunday] night, the new carrot is being able to make that a bit more like the norm. Not specifically talking about 86,000 people at the MCG but … filling smaller grounds like the SCG, or even North Sydney Oval, something like Adelaide Oval," all-rounder Ellyse Perry said.
"It doesn't matter where – just to be able to consistently generate crowds and fans and have people generally invested in the sport is going to be the next frontier for us. It's going to be a great challenge but [Sunday] night showed it was possible."
Officials also believe India's success here could help fast-track a lucrative women's Indian Premier League, with an emerging seven-match competition extended to four teams this year.
On the field, the superstars of the Australian side – now household names – find themselves in an intriguing phase. Healy will be 30 later this month, skipper Meg Lanning will be 28 a day later while Perry, set for six months on the sidelines after hamstring surgery, will be 30 in November.
Healy, keen to start a family, told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald major events were a time when she weighed up her playing future, while coach Matthew Mott said the lifestyle of an international cricketer wasn't easy for families. CA would not want to lose Lanning, Perry and Healy any time soon, for officials know they remain the key cogs on and off the field, and pivotal to any push to raise wages when negotiations for the next memorandum of understanding begin.
"We have seen how much they [CA and the ICC] have promoted and how much time and effort went into this World Cup and it worked. People bought into it and wanted to be involved," Lanning said.
"It just shows that if you put that effort in and that time into developing the game [it] also exposes new people to the game, it has that effect. This World Cup is a perfect example of that."
Mott even revealed the senior players had been asked about their playing intentions, for he was keen to bracket the Twenty20 World Cup with next February's 50-overs World Cup in New Zealand.
Lanning's side fell in the semi-finals of the 2017 event, so redemption will be an added motivation there. Then comes the Twenty20 World Cup defence in South Africa in 2022.
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