Georgia Adams didn’t know it was possible to play elite women’s cricket until she was 13.
It certainly wasn’t a case of being unfamiliar with the sport, or a bat-wielding black sheep in a family of footballers.
In 2004, Adams’ dad, Sussex captain Chris Adams, was named one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year.
While astonishing, acknowledged the now-27-year-old, the lack of visibility for the women’s game meant even girls with the privilege of pedigree were left in the dark.
It’s something Adams believes will change dramatically under the spotlight of The Hundred, which on Wednesday will become the first major UK team sport competition to launch with a women’s fixture.
“It was [incoming MCC president] Clare Connor, the Sussex women’s captain at the time, who said to my dad, ‘Why haven’t you sent your daughter to women’s trials?’,” recalled Adams, whose Oval Invincibles will host Manchester Originals in The Hundred’s opening contest, live on Sky Sports The Hundred, Sky Sports Mix, and the Sky Sports Cricket YouTube channel from 6pm.
“He was just as naïve as me, really, like ‘I don’t know what the avenues are. How do we send her?’
“I think that’s why competitions like The Hundred are so instrumental in creating female role models and getting the game out there, getting it seen by people, it’s going to be a spectacle.
Oval Invincibles Women
Manchester Originals Women
“Hopefully it’s going to [help] girls specifically realise that you can go and make a career out of playing cricket now.”
Adams was speaking at The Hundred: A Catalyst for Gender Parity in Sport.
The Hundred, an innovative new 100-ball competition, will see men’s and women’s matches played back-to-back on one ticket, save for the historic standalone opener featuring the two women’s sides.
Even the language of the game will reflect the tournament’s commitment to parity. Fours and sixes will be hit by ‘batters’, not batsmen, and a ‘Hero of the Match’ will be crowned after every game.
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Adams said: “I’m still amazed at how much cricket boys watch compared to the girls. The girls want to watch it [but] it’s a case of they don’t want to watch it unless it’s the girls playing.
“[And] the little boys come up to me and they’re like ‘Georgia, Georgia we’re supporting Oval Invincibles because you’re playing for them.'”
The Hundred offers an equal prize pot for the men’s and women’s champions, as well as the same off-pitch resources, from training facilities to transport and hotels.
“It’s a massive thing,” said 19-year-old Birmingham Phoenix bowler, Issy Wong. “Traditionally women’s teams haven’t always had the same opportunities as the men.
“We’re on the same platform [in The Hundred] – one club, two teams is very much the mantra going about, and that’s so exciting for us as female players, learning off the men’s players and maybe they can learn something off us. I think it’s a first in sport, certainly in cricket.
“The fact that The Hundred exists means so much to us as female players.
“It really makes us feel like there’s an investment being made in us, and we can go out there, perform, enjoy it and have fun.”
You can see and be part of history: show your support and attend the first game of The Hundred on 21 July at The Kia Oval #BeThere. thehundred.com
Sky Sports will show all 68 games live – 34 women’s and 34 men’s – while all women’s matches and a significant number of men’s games will be streamed live on the Sky Cricket YouTube channel.
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