Newly signed Stars Kristen Beams, Kelly Applebee and Alana King were unveiled by captain Meg Lanning as the quartet welcomed major partner VicHealth for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
Australian spinner Beams will provide experience with the ball and will work with young Prahran spinner King, while Applebee will provide a wealth of knowledge in the middle order.
“It’s great to have Kristen, Kelly and Alana on board with the Stars in the first ever WBBL,” Lanning said.
“Kristen and Kelly’s experience will be invaluable to us while Alana is a young promising bowler. Our list is balanced with a good mix of batters and bowlers and I am looking forward to seeing what lies ahead this summer.”
In conjunction with the player announcements, a joint partnership with the Stars, VicHealth and Renegades was launched as part of VicHealth’s Changing the Game initiative to raise the profile of women’s sport.
The joint venture signals a significant step forward in promoting women's sport and encouraging equality and will also assist in increasing female cricket participation in Victoria.
“We are very excited about our partnership with VicHealth and the opportunity it has given us to promote women’s cricket,” Melbourne Stars Chief Executive Officer Clint Cooper said.
“The Stars and VicHealth share common goals and values, and through this partnership we will be working together to raise the profile of elite women’s cricket in Australia.”
“Under the guidance of Sharelle McMahon, our Director responsible for the women’s team, the Stars will become an aspirational pathway for young female cricketers, which we hope will encourage junior participation around Victoria.”
VicHealth Chief Executive Officer Jerril Rechter described the partnership as a major step towards raising the profile of women’s sport and championing the important role women play in decision making and leadership roles.
“We want to change attitudes and change the game. Partnering with the Melbourne Stars and the Melbourne Renegades to support the first Women’s Big Bash League season is a major step in ensuring that women’s sport gets the recognition it deserves.
“This has been an amazing year for women’s sport in Australia. We’ve got some of the best female athletes on the planet, and they deserve better recognition. Recent VicHealth research shows that 62 per cent of Victorians think women’s sport should get more coverage in the media.
“By raising the profile of women’s sport, promoting the sporting achievements of women, we want to inspire more women to get involved in sport and get active, which is important for physical and mental health.”
As part of the partnership, the Stars and Renegades will battle it out for the Lanning Elliott Cup at the Derby double-header at the MCG on January 2, 2016.
“We are very appreciative of VicHealth’s support. The WBBL will help to create a clear pathway for girls playing cricket and those that are interested in getting involved. Hopefully, we will see more girls getting active and signing up to play this summer,” Lanning said.
In further good news for the Stars, Antler Luggage has also signed on as a major sponsor for the women’s team.
The Stars will open the WBBL against the Brisbane Heat on December 5 at the Junction Oval.
Melbourne Stars WBBL contracted players to date
Meg Lanning (c)
Mignon du Preez