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Wong: Hundred reasons to be full of optimism; cricket.

Byline: RACHEL STEINBERG

SIMPLY sharing a hotel with the men's squad is a huge leap forward for women's cricket, admitted Birmingham Phoenix bowler Issy Wong.

The 19-year-old has made a name for herself this season with Central Sparks in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, earning plaudits from England captain Heather Knight.

It's the faith are putting female saying we're you, we value what Issy

She is now set to make her Phoenix debut next Friday in their home opener for The Hundred, the new 100-ball competition promising gender parity across the board, from prize money to resources.

"Getting the same hotel as our men's team, the same facilities, it's a massive thing," said the Shrewsbury School graduate, who was selected to the England Academy in 2019. "Traditionally, women's teams haven't always had the same opportunities as the men. But to be playing at the same grounds, training at the same places, using the same gyms, little things like that are things you wouldn't really think about, but actually the fact that's there means so much to us as female players.

"It makes such a difference to us, and really makes us feel like there's an investment being made in us and we can go out there and perform and enjoy it and have fun.

the ECB in us as athletes and investing in you, we you do. Wong "It's the faith the ECB are putting in us as female athletes and saying we're investing in you, we value you, we value what you do on the pitch, we value what you do off the cricket match at Edgbaston when she was "about nine or ten".

The venue is now home to Birmingham Phoenix, who will host London Spirit in the opening double-header beginning with the women's match at 3pm, followed by the men's at 6.30pm.

Wong hoisted the T20 Cup with the Bears in 2019 and is eager to create more Midlands history with her team-mates in The Hundred, including 17-year-old Indian sensation Shafali Verma, the number oneranked T20 batter in the world.

Wong said: "We have to go out there with a Birmingham shirt on, and (to) play for my city is so exciting. It's really special. I think it's important we realise as cricketers the stage we've been lucky to be given now.

"There is a responsibility that comes with that, and hopefully we can put on a good show this summer, and if one girl watches one of our games and thinks, 'you know what, I want to play cricket' then that's a win."

| You can see and be part of history: show your support and attend the first game of The Hundred on July 21 at The Kia Oval #BeThere. thehundred.

Flint earning can go perform it"It's the faith the ECB are putting in us as female athletes and saying we're investing in you, we value you, we value what you do. Issy Wong what the 100-ball

CAPTION(S):

Issy Wong and skipper Amy Jones, inset, can't wait to step out at Edgbaston next Friday

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Author:RACHEL STEINBERG
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 17, 2021
Words:509
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