New Zealand Cricket have given themselves an upper cut over their treatment of the women's game in this country for 20 years; now they are aiming to climb off the canvas and bring the game to life.

A year ago, concerned that the women's game was dying, NZC commissioned a report into how to revive it, and the result is a 400-plus page document compiled by former Auckland player, and governance advisor, Sarah Beaman.

The next few months will be spent implementing the recommendations and board member, and cricket legend, Richard Hadlee described it as "an exciting time for New Zealand Cricket".

There's been no attempt to dodge the issue of responsibility. NZC dropped the ball in the time since the Women's Cricket Council was amalgamated under the NZC umbrella in 1992.


Despite having a talented group of players in the White Ferns squad, the game was falling away underneath.

"Since 1992 the women's game has suffered," NZC chief executive David White said.

"NZC has recognised that for some time the women's game was in a poor state and something had to be done about it.

"In effect women's cricket has been sidelined, this was wrong and we have a responsibility to put things right."

The report sought the views of over 1000 people and some of the data is alarming. For example, 90.5 percent of clubs in the country don't have female-only teams; over half over no cricket for women at all.

"The information in this report is compelling. (Sorting out the state of women in cricket) is simply the right thing to do," White added.

The steering group overseeing the document, called Women and Cricket; Cricket and Women, included former international Geoff Allott, NZC chief operating officer Anthony Crummy, former NZC general manager of cricket Lindsay Crocker and was headed by NZC board member Liz Dawson.

She described some of the findings in the report as "pretty brutal'.

The debate about the group table shifted from away from being about what to do about women in cricket "but to the cost of not including female talent and input at all levels if the sport wants to remain competitive in a dynamic fast-paced industry.

It's not about how to help women fit into what is existing but how to change that environment."

As if taking a cue, former international batsman Debbie Hockley - one of only five women in the International Cricket Council's Hall of Fame - will be confirmed NZC's first women president at the annual meeting this month.

Hadlee said he'd had discussions with former New Zealand women's players who have been left disillusioned with the way the women's game has been treated.

"We have shown a lack of respect and not involved past players as we should," he said.

"I'm not surprised with many of the findings. This (report) has brought to the table how remiss we have been."

Hadlee said it seemed NZC for years had put women's cricket in "the too hard basket. Clearly we've made a mistake and come clean."

He said the key message was that much more needed to be done.

"Our attitude needs to improve relating to women's cricket. We need to take the women's game a lot more seriously than we have before.

"Without doubt we are now respecting and valuing the White Ferns now as elite athletes and we've got to give them all the resources they need to perform."

Key points out of women's cricket report
■ Significantly increase the proportion of women in cricket governance
■ Increase the female presence in coaching and umpiring positions
■ 90.5 percent of clubs in New Zealand don't have female-only teams; 57.6 percent don't offer cricket for girls at all
■ Two of 43 board positions at regional level are held by women; 6.4 percent of NZC's governance structure is female; in 1993-94 it was 38 percent.
■ Develop a national pathway to attract female talent to cricket.
■ Promote and televise elite women's cricket alongside the men to broaden the appreciation and support of fans.