HIT FOR SIX: Holly Ferling with Taabinga State School students at the South Burnett school challenge.
HIT FOR SIX: Holly Ferling with Taabinga State School students at the South Burnett school challenge. Claudia Williams

Girls are the future for cricket

CRICKET: Holly Ferling grew up watching and idolising the likes of Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden on TV from her home in Kingaroy.

Young girls who dream of representing Australia will now have the opportunity to watch Ferling and her team mates on TV with a record number 23 of Women's Big Bash League games to be broadcast on free to air this season.

The future of women's cricket in Australia is bright and Ferling couldn't be more excited for the young girls coming through the ranks.

"Now young girls can watch the Big Bash on TV and know that it is possible and by the time they are in my position they will be full time athletes. It is going to be scary how awesome they are going to be with their skill set because they would have started much earlier than I did,” she said.

"It is that whole notion that you can't be what you can't see and it is great that these girls can see that playing sport professionally is a thing and women's sport isn't on the side, women's sport is sport. We are athletes in our own right we have got our own skill set, we are not this second tier tournament at all it is just as competitive.”

The South Burnett is a strong breeding ground for cricketing talent with Ferling playing for Queensland Fire alongside Courtney Sippel and Murgon's Renee Irvine is coming through the ranks representing Queensland in under-18s.

Ferling started playing cricket when she was in Year 6 at Taabinga State School and last week she returned to her school for the inaugural South Burnett schools cup, an opportunity that she would have loved to have herself.

Coming from a regional area Ferling is grateful for her positive experience playing junior cricket alongside and against boys but she knows this is not always the case and encourages young girls to stick at it.

"There is plenty of opportunities and there are so many success stories that have come from the region from cricket and other sports,” she said.

"It is one of those things, if you just hang in there you never know where it could take you because the opportunities that will exist in five years time will be incredible.

"It can be quite tough particularly when you are playing against the boys and against the men but honestly they are more scared of you then you are of them, they don't want to get out or get hit for six off a girl.”

Ferling made her debut for Australia in 2013 and couldn't have dreamed that women's cricket is as strong as it is today.

"We are training five to six hours a day and it is the best job in the world and then we get to come out to regional areas and keep promoting the sport we love and try and keep these kids playing as well,” she said.

Ferling has been battling injury in recent seasons and is looking forward to having a strong season for the Fire in the Women's National Cricket League.

"Every year I seem to have another injury but hopefully I can put all that behind me and have a good stint of just playing and getting back into it and bowling fast and enjoying it again,” she said.

"Last season really put me in good stead and I was really able to work on a few different balls. The way that cricket is going is that no longer as a bowler can you have one or two balls, you have got to have a slower ball and a yorker and a bouncer because it is a batters game and you have got to find a way to get the upper hand.”

Ferling studies and works as well as playing semi-professionally cricket but believes girls will have the opportunity to play full time in the coming years.

"The way that sport is going I am honestly so excited these girls playing because it will be well and truly professional and they will be only playing cricket,” she said.

"Cricket isn't everything but it is fun and it is the best job in the world at the end of the day.”

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