Today, Amara Carr, Naomi Dattani and Cordelia Griffith were announced as the three players to be awarded professional playing contracts with the London and East regional hub of the new domestic Women’s structure.
In what is a first for the domestic Women’s game, the three players will become full-time professional cricketers, retained with immediate effect. In the first instance the players will sign Regional Retainers, before progressing on to full-time contracts as soon as they are awarded.
Each of Carr, Dattani and Griffith have most recently represented Middlesex Women, and were selected from all players within the London and East regional set-up, which comprises Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the first-class counties of Middlesex, Essex and Northamptonshire, as well as the national counties of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire.
Ealing born Dattani, 26, is a Middlesex cricketer through and through, progressing through the county age group system into the Women’s first eleven, making her competitive List A first-team debut in 2008. Dattani, who has been Middlesex Women’s fifty-over captain since 2017, has been part of the MCC Women’s & Girl’s Performance Academy since 2019 and was earlier this year named as the Middlesex Women’s captain across both formats.
Carr, also 26, began her cricketing journey in her home county of Devon, where she too played through the age-groups to make her List A debut in 2008, In 2017 Carr joined Middlesex to play in the T20 format of the game, although remained a representative of Devon in the fifty-over format until the end of 2019, when she joined Middlesex across both formats.
Griffith, 24, joined Middlesex from Essex, where she also advanced through the age-group system from a young age, making both her T20 and List A debuts for Essex Women in 2010. In 2019 Griffith joined Middlesex for both formats and became part of the MCC’s Women’s & Girl’s Performance Academy.
The current ongoing Coronavirus pandemic means that the three won’t be competing any time soon for their new regional hub, with all domestic competitions currently on hold until at least the 1st August. In the short term however, the players will be benefitting from a comprehensive strength and conditioning programme, lifestyle support and will be engaged in ambassadorial programmes within the region, with a return to training programme also being developed, in preparation for future competition.
The new Women’s Elite Domestic Structure, which was unveiled in October 2019, forms part of the ECB’s ten-point action plan for Transforming Women’s and Girls’ Cricket. The London and East hub is one of eight regional hubs across the country – hubs which are now home to 25 newly professional Women’s players.
Danni Warren, Regional Director of Women’s Cricket for the London and East Hub, commented:
“This is such an exciting day for women’s cricket, and women’s sport on the whole. A lot of work has been put in behind the scenes, over many years, by players and administrators alike to make this step to professionalism possible. This underlines the commitment by ECB and the cricket network has to growing the women & girls game in this country, and puts us in a really positive position to return to cricket as soon as feasibly possible.
“I am really looking forward to working with Amara, Naomi and Cordelia, I know all three girls well and they bring so much more than a high degree of skill on a cricket pitch. I know that each of them will give their all to achieve success for the region and for themselves, and I cannot wait to get started on this journey.”
Middlesex Women are proudly sponsored by Brooks Macdonald