All rounder Suzie Bates is rated the world's best player at times, an accolade which takes on extra meaning now that women's cricket is making such amazing strides.

There is a sports revolution going on in Australia, where the Big Bash T20 is booming beyond expectations. While the men are grabbing headlines and winning ratings victories, the women are building previously unheard of attention through a more dynamic style.

Yes, the women have hitched their wagon to the men's to a degree. But Bates - who also had a terrific 2016 with England county Kent - sees a future beyond that.

The 29-year-old Kiwi captain, from Dunedin, leads the Perth Scorchers in Saturday's WACA final against the Sydney Sixers, who include international team mate Sara McGlashan from Hawkes Bay.


Bates chats to NZME.

The women's Big Bash is in its second season - what is the result so far?
I have to pinch myself sometimes...I could never have predicted this type of turnaround for women's cricket would happen while I was still playing. It is amazing, and it's scary where it could go especially if there is an Indian league.

The next step is global. We have become more mainstream, which is pretty amazing. It shows how fast you can turn something around when you invest in it.

How to put this delicately...the women's game wasn't exactly riveting in the old days.
The wickets we used to play on didn't help. The girls can now play 360 (degrees around the ground) and with power. (Sydney Thunder's) Harmanpreet Kaur hit 60 off about 20 balls against us last week. Like the boys, we've also got our nibblers and noodlers but there are women with the power game now.

It is all about the big hits and fast bowling and the coaches are buying into that philosophy. We've got to get people to buy into what this product is about. It's entertainment.

Sports fans were not kind about women's cricket in the past...
My response was always "what do you expect?". The boys would have been the same if they weren't provided with some resources. We were seen as a nuisance, coaches weren't keen to get involved. That has really changed. Fitness has been a big factor.

What are the men like now?
In Otago we've been very lucky with coaches, particularly Warren Lees. Initially he didn't think much of us either. But he saw how women were treated, that we needed an advocate. He was a famous name and knew people in power. He has been a really good voice.

Current players?
Dunedin is a small place...Brendon and Nathan McCullum have always been nice. I see Brendon at times but I get star struck. I'm a bit too shy. I try to play it cool but get tongue tied. I'd love to have a chat with him about helping us prepare for this year's World Cup.

Can you make a living out of cricket?
I'm one of six or seven New Zealand girls who are earning enough to live off it but if New Zealand wants full time cricketers we need a bit more investment. It is scary where Australia is going and we'll fall behind.

I'm lucky - my parents have given me great support. I've moved all my stuff back in with them at the moment.

If you weren't a cricketer...
I'd be a PE teacher. I've done my degree but whenever teachers' college came up, cricket seemed the more exciting choice. I'd still like to do it one day, but an exciting thing about the growth of the women's game is there are more opportunities and jobs around for us.

Your major career aims?
One thing I haven't ticked off is a World Cup...I've been in three finals (World Cup and two T20s) and fallen short. We're aiming to win the World Cup in England this year.

Is there one thing you would particularly like to change in the game?
I do still think that we are treated a bit like second class citizens. The double headers (with the men's games) for big games have been great for us but I'd like to see the women become stand-alone.

The Sydney Sixers should have home advantage for this final but they have to play in Perth because our men qualified for their final. In five years time I'd like to think that game could be played in Sydney, as a stand-alone final.

We can get to a point where we fill smaller grounds on our own. The North Sydney Oval is really good - it holds about 5000. Adelaide is one of my favourite grounds, and the Mt Maunganui-type grounds in New Zealand are excellent. Australia is hosting the 2020 World T20 and they want to sell out some of those grounds for that.

Who were your childhood heroes?
Michael Jordan and Sachin Tendulkar, which says something about those times. I followed what my brothers were into...that's one of the great things about what we are seeing now. Young girls are saying their favourite players are cricketers like (Australian star) Meg Lanning.