Dominic Ostler says he will be incredibly proud to see a professional women’s side wear the Bear & Ragged Staff at Edgbaston in 2025.

Ostler, the current Bears Women Head Coach and Central Sparks Assistant Coach, is a Warwickshire lifer having spent 14 years as a player between 1990 and 2004, receiving his Warwickshire Cap in 1991 and a benefit year in 2000.

Scoring 18,000 runs in all three formats and picking up eight winner’s medals, Dom was part of a record-breaking era for the men’s team and he hopes to follow suit as coach for the women’s team in the forthcoming years.

“It’s incredibly exciting for all the girls involved,” said Ostler, who joined as coach in 2018. “The journey they have been on is staggering and I’m sure they wouldn’t have believed you if you’d have said this could have been a possibility a few years ago.

“Before my time with the first team, I coached Warwickshire Women Under 17s, so I’ve seen the women’s game evolve first-hand. Not too long ago, teams would play at club grounds with just their family and friends watching, but now they’re playing in sold-out Test grounds with a fantastic atmosphere.

“That’s what sport is all about and I’m sure it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

For the first time, a professional Bears Women’s team will compete alongside our Men’s squad from 2025.

ECB recently announced a multi-million-pound plan to expand women’s cricket with the introduction of a three-tier system featuring eight fully professional sides.

One of those will be based at Edgbaston as Bears Women, who will replace the current Central Sparks regional side, will compete in domestic 50-over and T20 competitions from next season.

It will mean more women’s cricket at Edgbaston from 2025, with additional T20 double-headers with the men and standalone fixtures taking place.

“I’ve been part of both set-ups and this feels like the natural transition,” added Ostler. “Everyone who has worked for Central Sparks has given their all since the inception and I believe the support we’ve received has grown year on year.

“But I feel the time is right to get a full-time home and, for me, Edgbaston is the perfect place. We train here, we prepare here, and now we get to walk through the famous gates, just like the men and all the international sides, and call it our home.

“Warwickshire means everything to me and it’s been my life for 30+ years, so to see a group of professional women’s cricketers enter the field wearing the Bear and Ragged Staff will make me incredibly proud.”

Ostler has led Bears Women to back-to-back T20 titles and he’ll embark on one more campaign before the 2025 restructure.

Due to the extensive regional schedule, it’s unlikely current professional women’s players will be made available, but the former Berkswell Captain is still confident his side can be fighting at the top of the table.

“We usually play four double-headers before the regional season, which allows professional players to get some invaluable game time,” added Ostler.

“This year we’re playing a mix of 50-over and T20 cricket throughout the summer, meaning weekend availability will be a lot tougher for the likes of Marie Kelly and Eve Jones who are desperate to play.

“Nevertheless, this will allow us to play our younger talent and allow them to showcase their skills in a competitive environment. We’ll still have the experience of Anisha Patel, and a few others, but we’re looking forward to seeing what the next group has to offer.”

Over 13,000 sold for Women’s IT20 vs Pakistan

Pakistan Women will be in Birmingham on Saturday 11 May 2024 and over 13,000 tickets have already been sold.

With the Men’s IT20 already sold out, this is your last chance to see Pakistan at Edgbaston next summer and tickets are available from only £17, with under 16s £5.