New Zealand take giant strides in developing women's cricket

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New Zealand Cricket will hand eight players development contracts. © Getty Images

In a move that will boost the cricketing hopes of young girls seeking a full-time career in cricket, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have offered eight domestic players the very first Women's Development Contracts for the 2019-20 season following last month's Women's Master Agreement announcement.

Of the eight selected players, Natalie Dodd and Jess Watkin have both had a taste of international cricket.

The contracts come at an opportune time as it gives coaches of various teams a chance to better understand and gauge the allround abilities of the future generation of cricketers in the country. Bryan Stronach, NZC GM High-Performance head, said the contracts would not only ensure the development of these talents but also bring long-term success to New Zealand cricket in terms of preparing players for the highest level.

“We’ve got an opportunity to create a bespoke programme for these players, however, the contracts are not necessarily for players who are ‘next in line’ to play for the White Ferns," Stronach said. "This particular lot of contracts are for players we have identified as having talent we want to work with and discover more about."

The eight players selected will receive financial support and will be required to attend extra camps with access to additional support in delivering their performance plans.

Women’s Development Contracts

Skye Bowden (Auckland Hearts), Natalie Dodd (Central Hinds), Arlene Kelly (Auckland Hearts), Jess Kerr (Wellington Blaze), Natasha van Tilburg (Auckland Hearts), Saachi Shahri (Auckland Hearts), Jess Simmons (Canterbury Magicians), Jess Watkin (Central Hinds).