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The lives of England’s World Cup-winning team and future generations of female cricketers will be transformed by the victory, according to leading agents and sport marketing experts.Anya Shrubsole, whose incredible bowling turned almost certain defeat into victory against India, said it felt like a “watershed moment” for the sport played out before a capacity crowd at Lord’s. The £512,000 prize-money has been split equally among the 15-strong squad, meaning £34,000 a player. For players on central contracts worth around £50,000 plus match fees and bonuses, that represents a huge increase in their annual income.But the exposure gained from a tournament which benefited from two gripping semi-finals as well as a thrilling finale could lead to greater rewards in the form of sponsorship and advertising deals. “This win is not going to change women’s sport overnight but what it will do is contribute considerably towards the momentum that has already been created,” Rupert Pratt, director of Mongoose Sports Agency, said. “It will also mean these players, given that they are not on fortunes, could easily double what they are earning because it is bound to attract advertisers.“On-pitch performance always translates to off-pitch performance and with the cricket and Johanna Konta getting to the semi-finals at Wimbledon, it has led to a huge groundswell of interest and engagement in women’s sport.”Even before the World Cup victory some recognised the opportunities to better market women’s cricket and further their commercial gains. Allen Blackford, managing director and agent at EPT Arrelious Benn Jersey Sports Management, has been working with the former England batsman Lydia Greenway and the pair have already spoken to five of the squad about representing them in the future.“The men’s side of the game reaps all the benefits from the money that comes into the ECB,” Blackford said. “It’s a very lopsided market place. Some of the girls in that England team are still buying their own kit. I even spoke to one of the major cricket brands before the World Cup because one of the girls was looking for kit and he was only prepared to give it on a discounted cost basis.“One or two are with larger bat brands and are receiving a pittance in exchange for using their names in brochures and profile. Most are with smaller bat brands which they are loyal to but don’t receive any sponsorship money.“They’re on moderate central contracts but working as hard as any other professional sportsperson so it’s pretty tiring. They’re training as much as men and everything else but for less money, not much money in Super League or playing for England. We need to try to get them into the public eye more, because they’re great ambassadors for businesses, great role models, highly intelligent and articulate. They’re a marketing dream in many ways.”Blackford, who also coaches at junior level, is due to meet the England and Wales Cricket Board in the coming weeks to discuss how they can work together to further the women’s game. “It’s a massive opportunity,” he said. “We need to make sure every single female athlete sees cricket as an option because many have been dropping out to follow academic careers because the money simply isn’t there.”Clare Connor, director of England women’s cricket at the ECB, said they recognise the need to capitalise on the huge buzz the tournament has created to change the face of the sport domestically.The ECB was keen to stress that all the right participation pathways are already in place with the All Stars programme to nurture participation, women’s softball festivals and the Chance to Shine charitable initiative. “The foundations are there already,” Connor said. “Everyone talks about a watershed and game‑changing moment, and this does feel like that. We knew it was going to be a huge opportunity, and of course it’s vitally important we make sure this success Authentic Eagles Youth Jersey inspires and connects with talented girls and boys.”It is thought that more than 100 million people worldwide watched as England secured a nine-run victory at Lord’s, mainly courtesy of Shrubsole’s stunning destruction of India’s lower order. As of 2020, women’s cricket will have the added oxygen of free-to-air coverage thanks to the ECB’s recently announced new broadcast deal.Shrubsole predicted it would transform the health of the women’s game in the country. “I think it’s a watershed moment for women’s cricket,” she said. “The final was a really fitting tribute to the whole tournament, which has been brilliant from start to finish. We obviously set out to win, but we also want to inspire women and girls to play cricket and hopefully our win, and the way we have played, has done that.”Then the ball was tossed to Shrubsole of Somerset, known as the quickest bowler born in the north of the county – especially when Peter Trego is in earshot – and somehow she tinkered with fate. The dismissal of Punam Raut, who had batted with such polish and poise for her 86, prompted the first signs of panic among the chasers.Then there was a certain magic about every Shrubsole delivery, partly because just about all of them had that special quality; they were straight. She yorked the vastly experienced Jhulan Goswami first ball but perhaps her best delivery was her last. Her opponent was not the most formidable – Rajeshwar Gayakwad is not the best of batters. But consider the previous delivery: a gentle catch to mid-off from the bat of Poonam Yadav would surely seal it for England but Jenny Gunn, renowned for her reliability, dropped it.How easy to despair and lose concentration after such an error. But Shrubsole remained icily cool – at least on the outside. The next delivery had that deadly quality again; it was on target. The bails lit up and the celebrations could commence. Shrubsole with six for 46 was the player of a breathtaking match.This was one of the great Lord’s finals and there was a buzz around St John’s Wood before a ball was bowled. On the Wellington Road the ticket touts were out in force and they seemed more eager to buy than sell. Not even Rachel Heyhoe Flint, one of the world’s great optimists and the captain of England in the first World Cup final in 1973 – they were two years ahead of the men – would have dared to envisage this.Heyhoe Flint, a wonderful pioneer who died in January, was honoured before the start of a match that already felt like a celebration and a major landmark of the women’s game. Clare Connor, the head of women’s cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, joked as she looked out at the stands filling up, that “my work is done”. In fact she never rests.Soon Eileen Ash (née Whelan) who made her debut for England against Australia at Northampton in 1937, rang the bell in front of the bowler’s bar. At the age of 105 she did so with a vigour that rivalled the efforts of Henry Blofeld during the Test match against South Africa. Apparently she puts her longevity down to a combination of yoga and wine, a regime that Blofeld half understands.Goswami was inspirational in the field for India. She is one of the two vastly experienced cornerstones of the Indian side along with the captain, Mithali Raj. Both of them played in India’s previous World Cup final in Pretoria in 2005; both are 34 and playing in their last World Cup. How close they came to that trophy.


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