Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears captain Marie Kelly believes the signing up of so many Bears players for The Hundred this summer is "testament to the strength of the women's game in the county."
Along with fellow Edgbaston academy graduates Issy Wong and Ria Fackrell, Kelly has been announced in the first wave of domestic signings by Birmingham Phoenix. They join fellow Bear and England wicket-keeper Amy Jones on the Phoenix roster and could yet be joined by other Bears with the squad still to be fully fleshed out.
Another Bear, Georgia Davis, will also figure in The Hundred after joining Headingley-based Northern Superchargers.
For the Bears to win the T20 last year showed how far we have come. Now we’ve got a chance to show our skills in The Hundred, at least four of us with the Birmingham Phoenix.Marie Kelly
“The fact that so many Warwickshire players will be involved is testament to the strength of the women’s game in the county,” said Kelly. “For the Bears to win the T20 last year showed how far we have come. After quite a few near misses we put some silverware in the cabinet which is the ultimate for any team.
“Now we’ve got a chance to show our skills in The Hundred, at least four of us with the Birmingham Phoenix, and it’s going be fun. It’s really exciting to be part of the tournament and great to be valued highly enough to be selected.
“The tournament has its critics but there were plenty of sceptics when Twenty20 came in and that has gone on to revolutionise the game. It will be interesting to see how it is played. There are some new twists so I’m glad I won’t captain in the first season! I don’t think batting will be too different but there will be even more things to keep alert to in the field.
“I’m really looking forward to the 2020 season, first with the Birmingham Bears as we defend our T20 trophy, and then with the Phoenix in the Hundred before the first regional 50-over tournament later starts in the summer.”
The Hundred women’s competition kicks off on 22 July, with the men’s competition getting underway a week earlier on 17 July.