Australian women cricketers get a big pay rise

Elyse Villani of Australia bats during the women's international series T20 match between the Australian Southern Stars and Pakistan at Kerrydale Oval in September Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The salaries are still a lot less than the men can earn

A large pay rise for Australia's women cricketers means elite players will be able to earn annual salaries in excess of A$100,000 ($76,000; £53,000).

Members of the Southern Stars national team will now be the highest-paid athletes in Australian women's team sports.

The Southern Stars were runners-up at the recent ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India.

Cricket Australia will also increase its female player payment pool.

It will go from just A$2.36m to A$4.24m.

"Cricket is a sport for all Australians and Cricket Australia will continue to invest heavily in the women's game in the coming years," said Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland.

"Of the more than 1.2 million people of all ages currently playing cricket in Australia, almost a quarter of them are women and girls.

"We are determined to make cricket the sport of choice for women in Australia."

'Whole community benefits'

Maximum retainers for Southern Stars players will rise from A$49,000 to A$65,000, and maximum retainers for the domestic Women's Big Bash League rise to A$15,000.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Australia's women got to the final of the recent Twenty20 tournament

This means the best Australian women cricketers will earn a base salary of A$80,000, with match payments and tour fees taking them beyond the A$100,000 mark.

Minimum retainers will also rise, from $19,000 to $40,000 for the Southern Stars, and $3,000 to $7,000 for the Big Bash League. Travel and health insurance benefits will also be improved.

The recent success of women's cricket in Australia has surprised some commentators, with televised Big Bash League games routinely pulling large audiences.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised the move, tweeting "when women are empowered, the whole economy and community benefits".

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