Apr 152013

Published: 2:16PM Tuesday April 16, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

White Ferns Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Sian Ruck and Sara McGlashan are the first New Zealand women to be awarded one-year professional contracts.

The contracts are a part of an agreement between NZC and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA), allowing the players to focus on playing and training as full-time professional cricketers.

Each contracted player will also work closely with a major association to benefit grassroots women’s cricket by increasing awareness of the game at school and club levels, helping with female coaching development and recruitment, and mentoring upcoming representative players.

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Bates will work with Otago Cricket, Devine and Ruck will work with Cricket Wellington, and McGlashan will work with Auckland Cricket.

NZC chief executive David White says this initiative is a big step for women’s cricket in New Zealand and offers these players a unique opportunity to commit to the game professionally.

“Women’s cricket is growing all around the country, and it’s important that NZC and the major associations provide resources to continue that trend. These contracts are a sign of our commitment to achieving that goal,” said White.

“For the players, it allows them to dedicate more time to their own representative teams. The White Ferns are the flagship team for women’s cricket in New Zealand and we’re thrilled to have secured the services of four key players for the next 12 months.”

White Ferns captain Bates says it’s exciting to see this commitment being put into women’s cricket and shows the progress the game has made in recent years.

“These contracts give us some financial security and allow us to focus solely on cricket.

“It’s a great honour to represent your national side, but we’re also all very passionate about developing the grassroots of our game and the opportunity to be part of that is really satisfying.”

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