New professional league breaks boundaries in South African Women’s cricket

FILE- Cricket South Africa launched a professional women’s cricket league. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

FILE- Cricket South Africa launched a professional women’s cricket league. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 23, 2023


South African women’s cricket entered a new frontier yesterday with the launch of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Professional Domestic Women’s League at Freedom Park in Tshwane.

The league will comprise two main tournaments – the CSA Women’s One Day Cup and CSA Women’s T20 Challenge. The new structure has been set up with the help of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture’s investment of R15-million over three years.

“This league is a symbol of progress, breaking down stereotypes, and the challenging of preconceived notions about women’s roles in sports. It represents a shift in mindset, where talent, dedication, and passion take precedence over gender,” said Minister of Sport Zizi Kodwa.

Significant changes have been implemented to the women’s structure with the number of permanent contracts in the ‘Top Six’ Division 1 raised from six to 11 players per team.

— Proteas Women (@ProteasWomenCSA) August 22, 2023

Additionally, there will be an improved and permanent coaching set-up consisting of a head coach and an assistant coach, as well as a centralised system for physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches attending to each team.

The first division will also consist of six teams, which includes 2022/23 T20 and 50-over champions DP World Lions and Six Gun Grill Western Province, respectively, along with the Fidelity Titans, Hollywoodbets Dolphins, Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers, and newcomers Free State.

Cricket South Africa has also introduced a combined prize money pot for the respective winners of the upcoming campaign.

“We are thrilled to unveil the Professional Women’s Cricket League, an initiative that celebrates the remarkable achievements of our national women’s cricket team and paves the way for an even brighter future,” said CSA CEO Pholetsi Moseki.

“The professionalisation of the women’s domestic structure aims to elevate the women’s cricketing landscape by providing a platform for local talent to shine, fostering a culture of sporting excellence, while inspiring the next generation of players.

“With the success of South African cricket on the global stage, we believe that this will be a stepping stone for local talent, creating an environment that fosters growth, resilience, and a deep love for the sport.”

“Professionalising the women’s domestic structure has been met with enthusiasm from fans, players, and sponsors alike. We call on brands to continue showing their support for women’s cricket, recognising the league’s potential to redefine the narrative around women in sports in the country,” concluded Moseki.

The new structure follows the immense success of the Proteas in the last ICC Women’s World Cup 2022 hosted in New Zealand and the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup 2023 held on home soil, where they reached the semi-finals and final, respectively. It was at the latter tournament where Proteas Women were dubbed ‘History Makers’, as the first senior national team to reach the final of an ICC World Cup.

South Africa also hosted the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in January 2023 where the SA U19 team narrowly missed out on a spot in the semi-finals, after an exhilarating Super 6 stage.*