Clare Connor concerned about the COVID-19 financial impact on women’s cricket globally

Clare Connor. © Getty Images

England’s Director of Women’s Cricket Clare Connor is concerned that female cricket could struggle internationally to attract enough funding owing to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on some cricket boards. “It’s worrying. Some boards will struggle over the next year, if they’re not already struggling,” Connor was quoted as saying to BBC Sport.

“It’s a concern. The worry is that other boards won’t be able to invest the same level of finance, focus and commitment that the England and Wales Cricket Board and one or two others are more easily able to do.” After the immense success of the T20 World Cup in Australia international cricket came to a halt with the global pandemic. Many tours and series were cancelled due to the lockdown and restrictions that were put in place by the authorities.

South Africa saw their home series against Australia in March and subsequent tour of West Indies getting cancelled before pulling out of the proposed series against England citing travel restrictions. India’s tour to England in late June was rescheduled and then they declined the invitation to travel to England for a proposed tri-series starting in late August.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) made the decision to postpone the 50-over World Cup that was set to be played in 2021 February-March in New Zealand until next year over the concerns of teams not having the best of preparations coming into a global event.

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Connor, former England captain, feels if international cricket isn’t regularly played over the few months, some of the teams will find to sustain financially and this could have an impact on the global game. “Unless we get international women’s cricket played regularly across 2021, we’re going to be facing the same concern going into 2022,” she said.

“The narrative was about women’s sport being disproportionately affected compared to men’s sport. That was really concerning, but it also fuelled me to make sure that wasn’t our reality.”

England returned to international cricket after a gap of more than six months in the ongoing five-match T20I series against West Indies which started on September 21. World T20 champions Australia is currently playing their trans-Tasman neighbours in a six-match series-including three T20Is and three ODIs.

“The appetite for international women’s cricket was that strong six months ago,” Connor added. “I’m sure it’ll come back… there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge until we get to that point, but I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved in the past six months.”