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A £20m overhaul for women’s cricket

CLARE CONNOR believes a new action plan will help England women to bridge the gap to Australia after this summer’s Ashes defeat.

The England & Wales Cricket Board has announced £20million funding over the next two years to allow 40 full-time professional, domestic contracts to be handed out in addition to the existing 21 England centrally contracted players.

Connor, England’s director of women’s cricket, said: ‘Over the last five years, Australia have made similar investments. There’s no getting away from the fact we need to close the gap, certainly around the number of female players who can make a living playing the game.

‘It’s about giving those talented players that opportunity and for a girl in the game to see how she can progress through our system to become a professional. Australia have been a little ahead of us.

‘It’s time for us to make a big move.’

England lost 12-4 to Australia, who have more than 100 women playing professionally or semi-professionally, in this year’s multi-format Ashes series.