Cricket Australia (CA) and the players' association have signed off on a $1.2-million pay increase for domestic female cricketers, delivering the greatest sign yet there will be no repeat of their ugly scrap in 2017.
The current Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), achieved after an unforgettably acrimonious and public stoush over revenue sharing, expires in mid-2022.
CA chief executive Nick Hockley and Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) counterpart Todd Greenberg are well placed to conduct relatively cordial talks, having built a strong bond based on what the latter describes as "respect and mutual appreciation" between their groups.
Predecessors Kevin Roberts and Alistair Nicholson were rarely spotted in the same room or Zoom conference, whereas Hockley has invited Greenberg to be part of CA strategic planning meetings and fortnightly debriefs with state-association bosses.
The collaboration has already borne fruit for domestic women's cricket, with both parties keen to ensure momentum isn't lost in the sporting battle for hearts, minds and eyeballs.
Pay for WBBL and women's one-day players has been boosted this summer, by 14 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
An additional $400,000 has been tipped into WBBL player retainers, while an extra $800,000 will go to WNCL (Women's National Cricket League) retainers.
CA, which holds its AGM on Thursday, and the ACA have also agreed to fund an additional $320,000 for wellbeing support and $250,000 to allow players to bring partners and dependents with them during extended periods away.
"The last 12-18 months have been very difficult for sport," Greenberg told AAP.
"We've seen a lot of domestic sports in this country struggle to just even get their elite female competitions played.
"While some sports have struggled, cricket has effectively invested additional resources and I think that sends a very strong message."
Hockley, who headed the push to attract a sold-out crowd to the 2020 women's Twenty20 World Cup final at the MCG, admitted "there's still a really big" pay gap between male and female players.
"We want to keep striving to make it a really attractive and credible full-time professional career for our up-and-coming female cricketers," Hockley said.
"This was an important immediate step ahead of the season to address a very known issue. We won't rest until there is genuine parity across all elements of the game."
Hockley expressed hope that "really strong cooperation" between CA and the ACA would continue throughout coming months.
Greenberg echoed that sentiment, noting the "very collaborative effort" reflected change since "potentially some of the difficult relationships that may have existed".
"That's a sign of maturity for cricket. It's a good sign for the sport and players," he said.
"That doesn't mean that we're not going to have disagreements from time to time, we're not going to negotiate on key issues.
"But Nick and I have endeavoured to make sure that the players have a voice and contribute to the greater good of the game.
"This deal also highlights the importance of the revenue-share model."
National skipper Meg Lanning welcomed the announcement, noting "the success and prominence of women's cricket in Australia has not happened by accident".
Australian Associated Press