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Sammy-Jo Johnson: Hundred opportunities beneficial for women's game around the world

Sydney Thunder allrounder also believes some of the rules would work well in T20

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Sammy-Jo Johnson, the Sydney Thunder and New South Wales allrounder, believes the Hundred can benefit the women's game around the world with the increased exposure it has given players.
Johnson, who played for Trent Rockets, finished as the tournament's joint second-leading wicket-taker with 15 at 10.26 and an economy rate of 1.14 runs per ball. She was one of a group of fringe Australia players who took part following the withdrawal of the main international names although Johnson had been in discussions with clubs before the pull outs.
She is still undertaking her two weeks quarantine on return to Australia having had three flights cancelled due to the government cap on the number of arrivals, but was prepared for the potential challenges of the journey and was in no doubt of the benefits for both herself and others players who had the opportunity to make a name for themselves.
"I just wanted to go over and mix it with some different people, franchise cricket allows you to mix it with some of the best in the world and I had the opportunity to do that with Trent Rockets," Johnson told ESPNcricinfo. "I wanted to learn from those sorts of people, play in different conditions and try to advance my skill set. I think it opens up avenues, for someone like me it's an opportunity on a world-class stage with world-class players.
"Especially with the way the world is at the moment, we are going to miss England players and maybe some other internationals who can't make it to the WBBL and some may pull out due to the restrictions.
"Looking at that tournament and seeing how the second tier players like myself [performed] will only be good for them and [maybe] teams will think get them into the Big Bash. It's like the men's franchises, you don't have to be a nationally contracted player to give yourself a name in this short format circuit so I think it will only be beneficial for women's cricket around the world."
Johnson was also of the belief that some of the new rules used in the Hundred could easily find a place in T20, picking out the new batter being on strike after a dismissal and bowling consecutive overs from one end as being two particularly successful ones.
"In T20, you might pick up a couple of wickets at the back end but if you still have an 'in' batter and you can't get the new batter on strike that's where you struggle," she said. "Taking wickets and having the new person face up was crucial at swinging momentum. I think it's a great initiative and they should bring it into T20 cricket because think it can swing the game, especially at the back end."
Another hugely successful part of the tournament, which came about due to Covid-19, was the double-header match days involving both the men's and women's teams from the clubs involved. It is a structure the Big Bash has moved away from with the WBBL now a standalone competition, but Johnson said the brevity and timing of the Hundred helped it work.
"The difference from when we had WBBL and BBL double-headers in the past, you had such a big gap which is why it never worked for us. With the Hundred being such a short game and the way they time it, I think it's fantastic for the game over there. That real franchise feel, doesn't matter if it's the boys or girls team, people were showing up in droves, they wanted to support the Trent Rockets, for example, as a whole."
When Johnson emerges from quarantine she will begin preparations for Thunder's title defence in the WBBL with the early-season WNCL matches having been postponed to December. She is prepared for the likelihood of another period in quarantine before the tournament but said that players will do whatever is needed.
"That's the common theme around the traps, everyone wants to play WBBL," she said. "There's the prospect that if I go home I have to do a double quarantine to then participate and that's something girls are willing to do so we can put this competition on and keep putting highly entertaining cricket on TV if Covid is going to be around. I'm all about entertaining and hopefully we can put on another good show this year."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo