Cricket news - Players can keep Women's Hundred contracts in 2021, ECB announces

"There may be a little bit of movement but you obviously signed up for those teams because that's where you wanted to play" - Shrubsole

"There may be a little bit of movement but you obviously signed up for those teams because that's where you wanted to play" - Shrubsole

All contracted cricketers for Women's Hundred 2020 have the option of rolling their deals over to next year, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have confirmed. The tournament was postponed to 2021 owing to the COVID-19 situation.

The players can also choose to turn down the initial deal and renegotiate with other teams starting October.

"Since we made the decision to postpone the 2020 edition of The Hundred, one of the most important aspects of the rebuilding process as we move towards 2021 has been to make sure that the women's players are protected as best as possible," said Beth Barrett-Wild, Head of The Hundred Women's Competition.

"A few options were considered around the re-selection process, and after much consultation, including talking to the PCA and the players themselves, it was unanimously decided that the strongest approach was to implement a rollover mechanism for players who were selected in 2020 to 2021.

"COVID-19 has caused some uncertainty for athletes, especially female athletes, so being able to provide immediate clarity and assurance to the women's players that they will get the chance to re-sign for the same team and for the same fee in 2021 is very important, and demonstrates The Hundred's ongoing commitment to the women's game."

England pacer Anya Shrubsole has decided to stick with the Southern Brave franchise and expects most other players to do the same.

"I'd expect that a large majority will stay the same," said Shrubsole. "There may be a little bit of movement but you obviously signed up for those teams because that's where you wanted to play, so I can't see a huge amount of changing within the year.

"It was a really easy decision to me. I was really looking forward to working with [head coach] Charlotte Edwards and the group of players that we'd got together, so fingers crossed that they all want to come back as well."

Shrubsole felt that the option to roll over contracts provided the players some "security" and felt it is an important step in professionalizing the women's game. ECB have already taken steps towards it. In March, the board announced that the total prize budget of GBP 6,00,000 will be split equally between the men's and women's tournaments.

"The Hundred is going to be huge for the income that's coming into the women's game," said the seamer. "I guess if you link that with the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and with the retaining contracts that are coming in there, it's a huge step for professionalising the women's game further and having more professional cricketers outside of just the ones who have got the England contracts.

"So The Hundred was going to be huge for that and I guess it's also a good reason for rolling over the contracts because it gives people some security."