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ECB abandons 50-over Super League plan

The ECB has shelved plans for a women's domestic 50-over competition to mirror the T20 Kia Super League

Melinda Farrell
Southern Vipers celebrate their Women's Super League title, Southern Vipers v Western Storm, Women's Super League, Final, Chelmsford, August 21, 2016

Southern Vipers won the inaugural Women's Super League title in 2016  •  Getty Images

The ECB has shelved plans for a women's domestic 50-over competition to mirror the T20 Kia Super League.
The second edition of the KSL, which commences in August, was originally supposed to pave the way for an additional 50-over version involving the same teams, starting this summer. But the ECB will instead expand the KSL next year, doubling the group games for each of the six teams from five to ten, and consider other ways to improve the domestic structure of 50-over cricket.
A major reason for the decision not to create a new competition is the perceived lack of a sufficient window in which to run anther domestic tournament alongside the expanded KSL.
Despite England's success in the recent Women's World Cup, there has long been concern at the lack of a strong pyramid structure in the women's domestic game. The unwieldy county set up has led to a dilution of talent in comparison to Australia, where the 50-over domestic WNCL, made up of seven state and territory teams, has been running successfully for more than 20 years. Instead, England have developed most of their players through the high performance academy at Loughborough.
Players who are contracted to WNCL teams are paid on at least a semi-professional basis and the New South Wales Breakers became the first fully professional domestic women's team last year when sponsor Lend Lease guaranteed them a minimum wage of $35,000.
Such a scenario is unworkable in the current women's 50-over county structure in England, which consists of 36 teams spread over three divisions.
While the ECB recognises it must find ways to strengthen the talent pathway through counties and regions, no changes will be made to the 50-over competition until 2019 at the earliest.
The next World Cup will be held in New Zealand in 2021.

Melinda Farrell is a presenter with ESPNcricinfo