Women's Big Bash League: Australian T20 tournament begins

Brisbane Heat's Holly Ferling
Australia pace bowler Holly Ferling will be in action for Brisbane Heat on the opening day

The inaugural Women's Big Bash League has got under way in Australia - with nine current England players signed up by the eight franchises.

The WBBL, a Twenty20 tournament, runs until the final on 24 January.

It begins with Saturday's two games at Melbourne's Junction Oval as Brisbane Heat, with England's Lauren Winfield and Kate Cross, take on Melbourne Stars whose squad includes Natalie Sciver.

It is played in parallel with the men's Big Bash which starts on 17 December.

Eight of the 59 WBBL games will be shown on Australian free-to-air television, with many games grouped around weekends with free entry for spectators.

England vice-captain Heather Knight was named as Hobart Hurricanes skipperexternal-link on Friday, while all-rounder Laura Marsh signed for the Sydney Sixers earlier this week, meaning that seven of the eight WBBL franchises feature English players.

As well as the top Australian players, other leading international stars taking part include New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates and big-hitting West Indian Deandra Dottin.

England skipper Charlotte Edwards features in a Perth Scorchers squad including fast bowler Katherine Brunt, as well as ex-England all-rounder Nicky Shaw, who retired from internationals in 2010 and has since played for Western Australia.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor lines up for Adelaide Strikers, having helped South Australia win the 50-over Women's National Cricket League last week.

England will launch its own T20 competition, the £3m Women's Cricket Super League, next summer.

Current and former England players in the WBBL
TeamEngland players
Adelaide StrikersSarah Taylor
Brisbane HeatKate Cross, Lauren Winfield
Hobart HurricanesHeather Knight
Melbourne RenegadesDanielle Wyatt
Melbourne StarsNatalie Sciver
Perth ScorchersKatherine Brunt, Charlotte Edwards, Nicky Shaw
Sydney SixersLaura Marsh
Sydney Thundernone

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