Holly Ferling the first signing for Brisbane's new T20 team
HOLLY Ferling will usher in a new era for women's cricket after being unveiled today as the first signing of the WBBBL Brisbane Heat team.
The 19-year-old fast bowler will spearhead the Brisbane side in the inaugural Women's Big Bash League during December and January.
Ferling joins fellow Kingaroy product Matthew Hayden as the first signing of the Brisbane Heat.
Hayden was the face of the Heat at the KFC T20 Big Bash League in 2011.
Ferling joined the other eight club's marquee players today in Sydney to officially launch the new T20 league, which will be broadcast on Network Ten's ONE station.
Born and raised in Kingaroy, where she made history by taking a hat-trick as a 14-year-old in her first game of senior men's cricket, Ferling said she was honoured to be a part of the maiden WBBL side for Brisbane.
"All the girls are really excited, I think it's just going to push our profile, the team's profile, and also women's cricket that couple of steps further," she said.
"The BBL has become such an integral part of our summer and it will be wonderful to have the opportunity to be a part of that through our own competition."
Ferling said the new competition would see women's cricket pushed into the public's eye.
"I think it's something we've been waiting to happen with women's cricket," she said.
"And then seasons to come, like we have seen with men's Big Bash, it's just going to get bigger and better every year.
"I really think the next five years, women's cricket is really going to take off."
The WBBL Heat will be coached by current Konica Minolta Queensland Fire coach Andy Richards, who was in charge when the Fire won their maiden WT20 title in 2013-14
"It's an exciting time for women's cricket and the game in general with the creation of the WBBL,'' Richards said.
"We've worked very hard over the years to achieve our goals and the WBBL provides all of us with added incentive to perform at our very best.
"We've seen the impact the BBL has made on families and attracting new fans, but this competition will allow girls starting out in the game to have some ready-made role models,'' he said.
Brisbane Heat head coach Dan Vettori welcomed the arrival of a sister team.
"It's pretty exciting being part of something new like the WBBL and I'm sure we will all enjoy the chance to support each other along the way, especially in the double-headers that have been scheduled,'' he said.
The WBBL Heat will announce further signings in the near future, with clubs to have two international players and a squad of 14 contracted players.
They will play their home matches at Allan Border Field and the Gabba.
The WBBL is designed to attract more women and girls to play cricket at all levels, with world class sportswomen inspiring the next generation of players, fans and volunteers.
The new format, which replaces the previous state-based women's T20 competition, will see eight teams - mirroring the men's KFC Big Bash League (BBL) - compete in 59 matches over 51 days, culminating in the final on Sunday 24 January 2016.
Cricket Australia (CA) today announced that eight WBBL matches, including the competition final will be broadcast live on Network Ten.
The televised matches will precede men's BBL matches.
WBBL Brisbane Heat Matches
- Saturday, December 5 - Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars at Junction Oval, Melbourne
- Saturday, December 5 - Melbourne Stars v Brisbane Heat at Junction Oval, Melbourne
- Friday, December 11 - Perth Scorchers v Brisbane Heat at Perth
- Saturday, December 12 Brisbane Heat v Sydney Sixers at Perth
- Sunday, December 13 Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat at Perth
- Sunday, December 13 Brisbane Heat v Perth Scorchers at WACA Perth
- Friday, December 18 Melbourne Renegades v Brisbane Heat at AB Field, Brisbane
- Saturday, December 19 Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Renegades at Gabba, Brisbane
- Sunday, December 20 Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers at Gabba, Brisbane
- Sunday, December 20 Brisbane Heat v Sydney Thunder at Gabba, Brisbane
- Saturday, January 2 Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat at Kingston Twin Ovals, Hobart
- Saturday, January 2 Hobart Hurricanes v Brisbane Heat at Blundstone Arena, Hobart
- Sunday, January 3 Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes at Kingston Twin Ovals, Hobart
- Saturday, January 16 Adelaide Strikers v Brisbane Heat at Adelaide Oval No. 2, Adelaide
- Wednesday, January 10WBBL Semi Final 1 TBC
- Thursday, January 21WBBL Semi Final 2 TBC
- Sunday, January 24 WBBL Final TBC