Talented players from developing cricket nations are being given the chance to take part in the inaugural rebel Women's Big Bash League.
Players from China, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Scotland, Thailand and the Netherlands have been selected to join the eight rebel WBBL clubs as part of a joint initiative between Cricket Australia (CA) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) to develop emerging players in non-traditional cricket countries.
The players were selected following the recent ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier in Thailand.
The program will provide players with an opportunity to be involved in the rebel WBBL and be exposed to elite cricket. It also serves as important preparation for players ahead of the 2016 ICC Women's World T20 to be held in India.
Each of the rookie players will train with their rebel WBBL club during a two-week placement and attend home matches during that period. In the event of an injury to a contracted player, rebel WBBL clubs will be permitted to use their Rookie as a local replacement player, which would not contribute to the club's overseas player limit.
ICC Associate and Affiliate member nations Ireland, Scotland, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, China and the Netherlands each nominated up to three players to be considered for selection ahead of the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier.
Nominated players were considered by a selection panel consisting of Cricket Australia's Women's Youth Coach Cathryn Fitzpatrick, former England player Holly Colvin, former Bangladesh Test Cricketer Aminul Islam, and ICC Head of Global Development Tim Anderson, with the final selections made after observing players throughout the tournament.
"The women's game has made great strides in recent years, with participation numbers, investment levels and playing opportunities all at record highs," said ICC Head of Global Development Tim Anderson.
The introduction of the WBBL continues this momentum, and, with the support of Cricket Australia, it is great to have some of the best Associate and Affiliate players involved in this event."
The following players have been chosen as the rookies for the rebel WBBL Associate Rookie Program:
Miranda Veringmeier (Netherlands) - Adelaide Strikers
Norma Ovasuru (Papua New Guinea) - Brisbane Heat
Kim Garth (Ireland) - Hobart Hurricanes
Mariko Hill (Hong Kong) - Melbourne Renegades
Wu Juan (China) - Melbourne Stars
Rachel Scholes (Scotland) - Sydney Sixers
Suleeporn Laomi (Thailand) - Sydney Thunder
The Perth Scorchers Associate Rookie will be announced by the club in the coming days.
Kim Garth, who has arrived in Hobart following Ireland's victory over Bangladesh in the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier, spoke about her excitement about the program at her first training session with the Hobart Hurricanes.
"I'm really excited to join the Hurricanes this summer and be part of a professional set up. Getting to play and train with some of the best players in the world and see how they operate is also something I am really looking forward to."