Maia Bouchier and Danielle Gibson handed their first central contracts by ECB

Maia Bouchier and Danielle Gibson have been handed their first central contracts by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

England Women have once again issued 18 full-time deals, with the retired Katherine Sciver-Brunt and the dropped Freya Davies the only omissions from last year’s list.

Bouchier is rewarded following a season that ended with her cracking a career-best 95 against Sri Lanka in the final ODI of the campaign, while Gibson made her debut in the T20 leg of this summer’s Ashes contest.

Issy Wong remains in the group despite a difficult year that saw high expectations meet mixed form on the field.

In addition, supplementary development contracts have been handed to rising stars Mahika Gaur, Lauren Filer and Bess Heath, all of whom broke into the international setup over the summer.

While the men’s side moved recently to a system of multi-year contracts, with several leading players tied into two and three-year arrangements, the women’s squad remains on 12-month agreements.

Yet the ECB has announced that the terms include “significant structural improvements” as well as increased bonuses for victories over the strongest opposition and the previously-announced upgrade to match fees, which are now equal with the men’s team.

England director of women’s cricket, Jonathan Finch said: “Maia Bouchier and Danielle Gibson have been part of our group over the summer, have performed well and will be important players for England moving forward.

“The introduction of development contracts is a key step for us and allows us to support a wider group of players in their ongoing development and we will work closely with the regions to manage the players’ development and workloads.

“After a record-breaking Ashes summer, we have a really exciting 12 months of cricket ahead and we feel this group of players will form the foundations of our side that will take us through various bilateral series and the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.”

Maia Bouchier has made it on to the central contract list for the first time.
Maia Bouchier has made it on to the central contract list for the first time (Joe Giddens/PA)

England conclude their 2023 calendar on tour in India, with three T20s at Mumbai’s storied Wankhede Stadium this week followed by a one-off Test at the DY Patil Stadium.

For many, including Sarah Glenn, it is a first chance to experience cricket in India, where England last toured in 2019.

As a leg-spinner, Glenn is particularly keen to explore her game in a nation that has produced some of the finest slow bowlers ever.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s series opener, Glenn said: “I’m really excited. I’ve never played in India before or in front of Indian crowds, so it’s something new for me.

Sarah Glenn in action for England
Sarah Glenn is looking forward to exploring her game in India (Joe Giddens/PA)

“It’s something I’ve always looked forward to and wanted to be part of.

“This tour is more than just games, it’s a chance to develop my game here, learn off others with how they go about it and see where I can take my spin bowling.

“I’m always looking to improve, so I’ll have a play around with it and see what is the best way to take wickets.”

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