Women's cricket has taken big strides towards a fully professional setup in the past few months and Surrey have got on board by appointing a director of women's cricket for the first time.

The former England and Surrey allrounder Ebony Rainford-Brent is returning to The Oval to take up the role, advising on all women's cricket at the club and working with the Surrey cricket board on the development of the women's game.

The appointment is being funded by a standalone sponsorship deal with law firm Pemberton Greenish - who will also sponsor a new annual London Cup: a T20 between Surrey and Middlesex.

"I want to make sure that Surrey is seen as one of the world's leading domestic clubs when it comes to the development of women's cricket at all levels," Rainford-Brent, a former Women's Ashes and Women's World Cup winner, said.

"With Surrey Academy graduate Natalie Sciver already an integral part of the England Women's side and a number of young players on international pathway programmes, the future of Surrey Women's Cricket is bright and I look forward to working hard to make it even brighter."

Surrey chairman Richard Thompson added: "It gives me great pride that Surrey are now able to appoint a director of women's cricket and it is only appropriate that someone such as Ebony - who has been involved at the club since she was a teenager - should fulfil that role.

"Over the past 169 years, many men have taken honour in describing themselves as Surrey cricketers. In the 21st Century and beyond, I look forward to many great female cricketers joining them as they create their own place in our club's fantastic history."

Earlier this year, England's Women signed full-time central contracts for the first time an a standalone sponsorship deal was secured with Kia Motors.