New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined Cricket NSW Chief Executive Lee Germon, players, staff and other dignitaries on Tuesday afternoon to launch the 2019/20 season at NSW Parliament House, Sydney.
In partnership with the Parliamentary Friends of Cricket, the entire Cricket NSW community was celebrated with players from the Blues, Breakers and All Abilities teams in attendance.
Intellectual Disability Senior Leader, Michael Gillies, NSW and Australian Deaf and Hard of Hearing team captain, Andrew Park, joined several Blues and Breakers who met Premier Berejiklian and spoke to the invitees.
Blues spinner Stephen O’Keefe and opening batsman Nick Larkin, as well as Breakers seamers Rene Farrell and Sarah Aley, spoke about the season ahead and what it means to play for NSW.
The Premier was presented with her own Cricket NSW bat to mark the occasion, as were the co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends, Jo Haylen MP and Alister Henskens MP.
Both the Blues and Breakers start their seasons on Sunday. The Blues Marsh Cup campaign begins against Queensland in Brisbane, while the Breakers take on hosts South Australia in the Women’s National Cricket League.
Mr Germon emphasised the responsibility of Cricket NSW to all levels of cricket in his speech.
“Our purpose is to inspire the love of cricket. Our responsibility lies with all levels of cricket right across all parts of NSW - community and grassroots clubs and schools, right through to the professional men’s and women’s games,” Mr Germon said.
Mr Germon acknowledged the Premier and NSW Government for its significant investment in sporting and cricket facilities across the state including the new Cricket NSW home of cricket being developed at Sydney Olympic Park, to be completed by 2022.
“Our vision for Wilson Park is to create the finest cricket training facility in the world, which is only possible due to the strong partnership between Cricket NSW, the State Government and our other funding partners.”
The season will culminate with a standalone Women’s T20 World Cup to be opened on 21 February at Sydney Showground Stadium when Australia takes on India.
The tournament is set to feature Breakers captain and Sixers star Alyssa Healy as well as Sixers captain Ellyse Perry and other NSW stars like Ashleigh Gardner and Rachael Haynes.
In conjunction with the tournament, the NSW Government has established the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 Legacy Fund committing $6 million to cricket facilities, regional event content and improved participation opportunities for women and girls.
“We are delighted and very thankful at the creation of the NSW ICC T20 World Cup 2020 Legacy Fund – with $6 million of State Government Investment in cricket facilities, regional event content and improved participation opportunities for women and girls – already delivering quality facilities and opportunities for the cricket community right across NSW," said Mr Germon.