Recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) negotiations paved the way for the biggest pay rise in the history of women’s sport in Australia, enabling Clubs to provide players with the security of an extended contract for the first time.

WACA CEO MS Christina Matthews said it was a huge step forward in the equality of the sport.

“Not only is it great to have Nicole and Elyse re-signing with the Scorchers, but to be able to offer them multi-year contacts has been huge,” Ms Matthews said.

“They are two incredibly talented players and securing them long term gives us the chance to grow our squad over a number of seasons and reach a higher standard of the game.

“It also gives them breathing space and the time to focus on their game, knowing they will still have a spot with the Scorchers for a number of WBBL seasons to come.”

Villani and Bolton, returning for their third WBBL season, are a part of the first female cohort capable of earning the same hourly base rate as their male counterparts, with cricket being the first Australian sport to have gender pay equality.

Cricket Australia has committed a minimum of $55-million to women’s pay over the next five years, compared to $7-million over the previous five years.

Villani, whose national Cricket Australia contract will combine with her State and Club commitments to have her among the country’s best compensated female athletes, said cricket had entered a period of unprecedented opportunity for women and girls.

“It feels like a genuine option now,” Villani said.

“Cricket is a sport for all – not male and female cricket, but just cricket – and it’s now a real option for young boys as much as it is young girls, who dream to represent Australia.

“Multi-year deals are of course important to the players, but also to Clubs, which can now have the security of building a team around a group of core players.

“So, it not only gives the players security, but it gives the whole WBBL competition security.”

The Scorchers open their WBBL season against the Brisbane Heat on Sunday 10 December, with the Club’s first home game against the Melbourne Stars at #TheFurnace on Boxing Day.