The Women’s Big Bash League, Australia’s eight-team women’s T20 tournament is back for a third season and is visiting more areas than ever before, with Canberra, Launceston, Geelong and Alice Springs all on the schedule.
Twelve matches will be screened on Network Ten with the other 47 to be streamed on Mamamia.
Ahead of the opening matches, here are some of the storylines for WBBL03.
More international stars available than the BBL
While the commitments of other national teams in this traditionally busy part of the calendar limit the amount of countries and players BBL franchises can have access to, there are no such restrictions on the WBBL.
Playing alongside all of the top Australian talent will be many of the world’s highest-ranked female T20 players.
Riding on Ashes and World Cup’s coat-tails
The success of the day-night Ashes Test at North Sydney Oval has emphasised the increasing popularity of women’s cricket. (Geoff Lemon)
It’s been a massive year for women’s cricket and the WBBL will be looking to surf the wave of momentum.
The success of WBBL02 was followed by a dramatic and well-attended World Cup in England and the recent Women’s Ashes series in Australia, which also drew strong live and television audiences.
It is safe to say the stocks of women’s cricket have never been higher.
Nice to have them on our sides for a change
Sri Lanka’s hard-hitting batter Chamari Atapattu is one of the international stars who will be taking part in the WBBL. (Reuters / Action Images: Andrew Couldridge)
Some of England’s finest will be playing alongside some of their recent Ashes adversaries, while players from New Zealand, South Africa ,West Indies, India and Sri Lanka will also be part of proceedings.
Among the imports are India’s Harmanpreet Kaur (Sydney Thunder) and Sri Lanka’s Chamari Atapattu (Melbourne Renegades) both of whom scored more than 170 against Australia in the World Cup.
Can anyone end the Sydney domination?
Sydney Sixers are the defending champions for the WBBL, and will be hard to beat again this season. (AAP: David Moir)
The first two comps were won by the two Sydney teams, the Thunder in 2016 and the Sixers earlier this year.
It continued the domination NSW has enjoyed in the domestic women’s one-day competition.
The bookies reckon the Sixers are the team to beat and it is hard to back against any side featuring run-machine and champion all-rounder Ellyse Perry.
Perth Scorchers, Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat are also high up in the betting.
Former Melbourne Stars skipper Meg Lanning — who has joined Perth Scorchers – will miss the WBBL after undergoing shoulder surgery. (AAP: Brendan Esposito)
The most striking absentee from WBBL03 is Australian captain Meg Lanning.
The classy and prolific top-order batter missed the recent Ashes series and was expected to be sidelined for six to eight months after undergoing shoulder surgery last August.
Her absence is a grievous blow for Perth, who wooed the former Melbourne Stars leader west on a three-season deal.
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