Hollie Armitage, Katie Levick believe England are closing the gap on Australia

Hollie Armitage and Katie Levick. © Getty Images

Hollie Armitage and Yorkshire and Northern Diamonds teammate Katie Levick believe that England are beginning to close the gap on Australia by investing in the domestic women’s structures.

“Australia have got a fantastic set-up,” Armitage told Bradford Telegraph and Argus. “They’ve got 14 or 15 professionals in each state, whereas we’ve only got five. But they’ve been professional for the last however many years, whereas it’s only just coming into play for us.”

“For us, hopefully we can run alongside them as things develop. The Hundred will compare to their Big Bash and our domestic competitions can compare to their WNCL.”

Echoing her teammate’s views, leg-spinner Levick said that what Australia have done well is focus on their domestic competition, allowing players at the state level to train as professionals.

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“Australia’s definitely leading the way in how much importance they put on the women’s game. The Big Bash has been a standalone competition for a couple of years now, and it’s the pinnacle of the domestic game around the world,” Levick said. “They are probably still a couple of years ahead of us, but the gap is definitely closing.”

“They’ve had a professional domestic structure for some time now. Their girls haven’t necessarily had to juggle cricket around other commitments like we have.”

Currently preparing for another season of club cricket in Australia, Armitage was drafted into the Sydney Sixers squad last season as a replacement for an injured Elyse Perry. The right-hand batter slotted into the top order for five games and scored 54 runs in her stint.

She had the opportunity to bat alongside the likes of Alyssa Healy and Marizanne Kapp, also interacting with Perry and South Africa skipper Dane van Niekerk.

“It was fantastic,” she recalled. “It was a great opportunity, and I never expected to get the call. I only went over to Tasmania to play club cricket, so I was really grateful to join the Sixers.”

“It gives you insights into how other teams and players work, and playing alongside players of the quality I did, it will always push your own game forwards, whether you’re with them for two weeks or six.”

The duo also had the opportunity to play alongside England internationals Katherine Brunt and Natalie Sciver for Northern Diamonds during the recently concluded Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy. Levick heaped praise on the pair’s performances on the opening weekend, stating that there was so much the squad learnt from their exploits over those two matches.

“Seeing how she (Sciver) went about her business at close quarters this summer was great. Players like her add so much to your team,” said Levick.

“That innings she played for us at Durham was amazing, while the other end crumbled. And the other end crumbling included some international players as well. She just seemed so calm throughout and made it look easy. Those kind of performances just rub off on others.”

“Katherine’s love and passion for the game keeps shining through. She’s a great performer, and her body can still do the job.”

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