So the "Aussie Experiment" is coming to an end for Charlotte Edwards and Heather Knight, with both due to return to the UK and the England squad in the New Year. As far as I know Sarah Taylor will remain with the South Australian Scorpions until February, when she will join the England team in New Zealand. They have played the first twelve weeks of the Australian domestic season with three separate states and all have done pretty well. In fact Charlotte Edwards and Heather Knight are the leading run-scorers in the WT20. All their figures are below.
Edwards has led a young Western Australia side who have struggled in both T20 and 50 over formats. Edwards has been her normal reliable self. She tops the run-scorers in the WT20 at the current time (although she has had two more innings than most of her closest rivals) and is 9th in the WNCL list of run-scorers. She averages about 40 in both formats.
Knight probably has the most to smile about. She has batted consistently well for Tasmania in both formats and is 2nd top-scorer in the WT20, with an average of a whisker under 50, in a format in which some have questioned her ability. She has also scored those runs at a very healthy strike-rate, in excess of a run-a-ball (114.92). In the longer format she is also averaging just under 50 and is the 5th highest run-scorer in the league.
Taylor has not fared as well as her two team-mates with the bat. She scored a magnificent 81* off 51 balls for South Australia against ACT in the WT20, but has managed only one other 50 (in the WNCL). She would have liked more. She also did not keep in the final three games of 2014, although she did take over the gloves in the last game when the young Aussie keeper was injured.
Charlotte Edwards (playing for Western Australia - WT20 - p10, w1, l9 WNCL - p5, w1, l4)
WT20 scores - 36, 34, 66*, 34, 46, 66, 7, 17, 4, 52 = 362 @ an average of 40.22
WNCL scores - 63*, 1, 28, 62, 5 = 159 @ an average of 39.75
Heather Knight (playing for Tasmanian Roar - WT20 - p8, w3, l5 WNCL - p4, w1, l3)
WT20 scores - 41, 68*, 53, 17, 0, 70, 66, 24 = 339 @ an average of 48.42
WNCL scores - 75, 27, 19, 78 = 199 @ at an average of 49.75
Sarah Taylor (playing for South Australia Scorpions WT20 - p8, w4, l4 WNCL - p4, w2, l2)
WT20 scores - 38, 1, 36, 81*, 4, 22, 6, 40 = 232 @ an average of 29.00
WNCL scores - 58, 8, 7, 4 = 77 @ an average of 19.25
Their form bodes well for England's trip down to New Zealand and the second round of the ICC Women's Championship games in February. Knight has certainly thrown down the gauntlet to others who are looking to take her opener's slot away from her in the T20 format of the game. Lauren Winfield got the job in the summer against the South Africans, scoring a match-winning 74 in the third and final T20 of the summer. She may retain the slot with Knight dropping down to four or five.
Perhaps only after that tour will we know if the experiment has really worked, but the results so far look favourable. Next year England's autumn/winter tour will be to South Africa, but with the prospects of a Women's Big Bash looming in Australia, their will be pressure to release several of the England girls to go and play in Australia at least in December and January, if not for the entire Aussie season.
Professionalism brings conflict between players being allowed to play and make a living, and not overplaying, and between tours and competitions. There have already been issues with the proposed WICL T20 tournament, and there will be more during the English summer with county cricket, as England entertain the Aussies for another exciting Ashes series. It is a fine line, and it will not get any broader as the profile of the women's game, and the girls that play it, continue to grow.