Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
The ECB has more than doubled salaries for female players in the second season of the Hundred after the inaugural women's competition broke records for attendances and TV viewing figures.
Women's salaries ranged from £3600 (US$4800) to £15,000 (US$20,000) - with a captaincy bonus of £1200 (US$1600) - in the 2021 edition of the Hundred and while prize money for the men's and women's tournaments was equal, there was a stark disparity in wages with the lowest-paid male players earning 60% more than the highest-paid female players.
Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive, had pledged after the tournament's final was watched by a record-breaking 17,116 crowd that salaries would rise as a result of the success of the women's competition, while confirming that the double-header model would continue to be used in 2022.
ESPNcricinfo can reveal that women's salaries will increase by 108% across the board for 2022, ranging from £7500 (US$10,000) to £31,250 (US$41,500), with a £2500 (US$3300) captaincy bonus. Teams will have a £250,000 (US$330,000) purse to split across their 15-player squads, up from £120,000 (US$160,000), with the ECB's total outlay on women's salaries jumping from £960,000 (US$1.28m) to £2 million (US$2.66m).
"Salaries in the Hundred women's competition have more than doubled ahead of the second year of the competition," a spokesperson for the Hundred told ESPNcricinfo. "We're proud to be significantly increasing our investment in women's salaries, we believe this is a step in the right direction as we grow the women's game and are committed to our ongoing support of the Hundred women's competition."
The salary hike further increases the chances of the world's best women's cricketers appearing in the 2022 edition of the Hundred, after a raft of Australia internationals withdrew shortly before its first season due to quarantine requirements and restrictions on international travel. With the Commonwealth Games due to be staged at Edgbaston from July 29 to August 7, many leading internationals are likely to remain in the country for the Hundred.
The increase is particularly significant for the lowest-paid players in the tournament, several of whom had to take annual leave or ask for time off from their employers during the inaugural season. Kate Cross, the England seamer, told the Telegraph last year that "until those lower brackets are topped up, you could have some girls dropping out because ultimately it's not worth their while with work", but an increase in the bottom salary band to £7500 for a month's work will make playing in the Hundred more financially viable.
The ECB has also confirmed that men's salaries will increase by 25% and return to their pre-Covid levels, as ESPNcricinfo revealed earlier on Wednesday.