Erin Burns has lauded Cricket Australia's decision to give a pay rise to female domestic cricketers, saying it will help take the women's game "to the next level".
CA, in partnership with Australian Cricketers' Association, on Tuesday announced a $1.2 million boost to increase the average base salaries for Women's National Cricket League and Women's Big Bash League players.
WNCL cricketers will benefit by a 22 per cent rise, while the average retainer for WBBL players also jumped by 14 per cent. The cash injection, announced ahead of the WBBL's launch on Thursday, doesn't take into account match fees.
The announcement has been warmly welcomed by Wollongong's Burns.
"The last MOU (memorandum of understanding) was a huge leap forward in terms of pay, particularly in the domestic space, allowing our female players to be able to dedicate more time to developing their game and becoming more professional," Burns told the Mercury.
"I think how much female cricket, and Australian female cricket in particular, has progressed on the world stage in the last two years has been testament to how much that funneling of extra finances into the women's game is paying dividends, and I think this is only going to help take it to the next level. It's really exciting."
Burns' domestic career began over a decade ago with Tasmania. Her journey has taken the all-rounder to Wellington and the ACT, before representing NSW and WBBL franchise Sydney Sixers in recent years.
During that time, the women's game has changed dramatically.
"It's been amazing to see the growth. When I started, you had to pay to go places and play. You'd pay for your airfares, your accommodation, your uniform and all the rest of it," Burns said.
"To see where it's come, and is continuing to come, is exciting. I think it's also a reflection on where the community sees women's cricket, not only Cricket Australia. It takes backing from the community and women's cricket is in the forefront of people's minds these days, which has been amazing to see."
The Sixers kick off their WBBL campaign against the Stars in Bellerive on Thursday night, but Burns will be more than 1500 kilometres away from her teammates.
Burns remains in Sydney with her pregnant wife Anna and will miss Sydney's opening five games. The 33-year-old recently returned to Australia after a stint in the new English competition The Hundred with Birmingham.
She then spent the mandatory fortnight in quarantine before heading home. The prospect of then having another two weeks isolated in a Tasmanian hotel didn't thrill Burns.
"Having just been away and my wife being pregnant, the option to not go home and go straight down to Tassie and not to do the quarantine wasn't really on the table. To miss five months away is a big chunk, so I made the decision to spend a bit of time at home, which meant I missed the window when the rest of our squad went down," Burns said.
"We've then subsequently been caught up in the border wars and the political space that is trying to get an exemption. I still don't know where it's going to land, but fingers crossed that something can be resolved between Cricket Australia and some of the states, and I'll be to be part of the competition just after the start."
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