Australia's victorious women cricketers hope their latest world title win will promote more growth in the game at grassroots level, and they also believe the aim of becoming professional athletes is no longer an impractical dream.
The Southern Stars arrived home on Thursday and the Victorian-based contingent carried with it the 50-over World Cup won in India that complements the Twenty20 world title won in Sri Lanka four months ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Those twin achievements might give Jodie Fields' side bragging rights as the most successful of Australia's current sporting teams, but the group also left Mumbai buoyed by the big step women's cricket took in the past month, the paper said.
The latest edition of the World Cup has been hailed as one of the most successful in terms of the standard of play, the increased profile through television coverage and social media and the emergence of the West Indies and Sri Lanka, it added.
Those teams are not traditionally powerful in women's cricket, but Australia coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick said their improvement meant there was now a big argument for the world champions to play more matches to help strengthen the pool, the paper said.
The scarcity of regular international fixtures has Fitzpatrick thinking it will be a little bit off before Australia's best women players can consider quitting day jobs to train and play full-time, like their colleagues on the subcontinent, the paper reported.
But she said the women's game was now a lot closer to turning professional than it was during her own 15-year international career as a fast bowler, when there was a constant struggle for recognition.
Fitzpatrick added they always argued back in the day, the era she played in, they always had a good product but they just never got seen, adding this product is better and it's getting seen, so it can only help. (ANI)