England’s Tammy Beaumont hopes that a successful first season of The Hundred can help close cricket’s gender pay gap, but admits the new competition’s salary structure still has a way to go.
The new franchise tournament prides itself on providing an equal platform for men and women, with the marketing campaigns, matchday experience and prize money pots identical for both editions.
But there is one conspicuous difference: with male contracts worth between £24,000 and £100,000 while their female counterparts pick up a maximum of £15,000 and as little as £3,600.
Beaumont, who will turn out for London Spirit and also forms part of Sky Sports’ commentary team, believes The Hundred has already delivered a big boost to the profile of the women’s game but is crossing her fingers that a positive response will see salaries shift in future years.
“It’s time for women’s cricket to take that massive leap, to be on TV, to be on billboards. I’m proud to be part of it,” she told the PA news agency.
“That’s the draw of The Hundred in a way. On many, many levels it is very equal, but financially it’s not quite there yet. It is right to point it out. I personally feel great that we are being treated the same as the men at London Spirit – the accommodation, the training, the media appearances – everything outside of payment is equal and I feel valued.
It's time for women's cricket to take that massive leap, to be on TV, to be on billboards. I'm proud to be part of it.Tammy Beaumont
“That’s a good starting point. I don’t see us being equal for a long time but let’s at least get closer to the men. I would love to see the ratio of the difference decrease over the years.
“Hopefully in the future the women go get a pay rise but there has been a global pandemic and a lot of people losing their jobs, so we know there isn’t an excess of money to throw at it.
“We can’t demand equal pay if we don’t bring in the same things, I believe that, but I hope the demographics show the women’s game is the one that is drawing some of that new audience.
“If we do get that support, maybe the financial rewards will get closer. If you look at the way sponsorship is going, sponsors want to be involved in gender equal sports.”
Despite the change in format, Beaumont is perfectly at home with her likely role in the game: batting high and swinging hard.
Less familiar is her position in the commentary box, where she will be handed a live microphone and invited to pass comment on players she could be facing in the middle a few days later.
“I’m probably more nervous about the mic than facing the new ball! But I’ve always been a believer that if you’re going talk the talk you’ve got to walk the walk,” she said.
“If I’m going to put my opinions out there I’ve got to back it up. I can offer insights into some of the characters in the women’s sides and some of that behind the scenes stuff could be my niche, but if I do have to be critical of people I guess I’ll just have to back up what I say on the pitch.”
:: Nasser Hussain is part of the Sky Sports team for The Hundred this summer. Watch every ball of the competition live on Sky Sports The Hundred.