Alana Lakeland is the Media Manager for Australian Women's Cricket Team, also known as the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars. It's been three years now that she was appointed at this post and Alana and her team has performed incredibly well, achieving 967% increase in media coverage of women's Cricket. Australian Women's Cricket Team are the leaders in both the ODI and T20 Format and continues to inspire and encourage Women Cricketers around the World. In the Interview, Alana shares her personal experiences and emphasizes on the importance of Big Bash League. Australian Cricket Team is looking forward to 2016 ICC Women’s World Twenty20, which is to be held in India. Alana Lakeland

1. Tell us about you?

Full Name: Alana Lakeland
Date of Birth: 31/08/1984
Gender: Female
Playing Role: N/A – I am the Media Manager for the Australian Women’s Cricket Team – the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars
Address: Victoria, Australia 3002
Country: Australia

2. At Present: Are you a Coach? A cricket player? A cricket related business? A club Owner? A cricket Fan? Mention your work profile (if anything else).
I am the Media Manager for the Australian Women’s Cricket Team – the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars. I have been privileged to work with the team for approximately three years and during this time we have achieved a 967% increase in media coverage of women’s cricket, which is something we at Cricket Australia are very proud of.

3. Do you play for any club or a team? Mention their names? When was it founded? Where are you working currently?
I currently work with the Australian Women’s Cricket Team – the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars. They are the number one ranked women’s ODI and T20 team in the world and currently hold both the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup and the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 trophies.
It’s been a big 12 months for the team and we’re looking forward to taking on England in the upcoming Women’s Ashes Series.
We have enjoyed great success in the last 12 months, which included winning our third straight ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and our 8-0 series defeats of Pakistan and the West Indies. These victories saw us cement our standing as the number one ODI and T20 team in the world, which is something we are very proud of.

While the players have a history of success on the field, they have also contributed greatly to the sport off the field. As cricketers they are aware of their responsibility to inspire the next generation of players and fans and the invest a lot of time giving back to the game through activities such as player appearances, clinics, coaching, commercial events, speaking engagements and media opportunities. We want cricket to be the number one sport for girls and women in Australia and we know that the success of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, as well as the way in which they carry themselves on the international stage, helps to inspire more females to get involved in cricket as players, volunteers, fans and officials.

4. Do your club/association have any website or facebook page? Mention their links.
You can follow the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars on Twitter via @SouthernStars

5. Any recent achievements/activities that you had. (It could be organizing a small camp, or just playing a match or organizing a cricket camp or playing a tournament series) Do mention the date.
During the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars’ series against the West Indies last year we held an exclusive training session where we invited select media to train with our players and coaches. The session had two main aims:
· Generate media interest ahead of an upcoming match by inviting sports journalists from the major outlets.

· Provide the media with an exclusive insight into what it takes to play for the number one women’s team in the world.

The session was designed to educate the media about the training regimes of the players and allow them to observe the players close-up to generate a true appreciation for their level of skill.
Feedback from the media who attended the session was overwhelmingly positive. The journalists had a much higher appreciation and level of respect for the achievements of the player and have since taken a more active interest in the team and their results.

6. Would you like to come to India for a tournament or a coaching camp? Or do you want to travel any other country (if Yes, please mention the name)?
I have been lucky enough to tour India twice with the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars. India is an incredible country to visit, particularly if you love cricket.
The team has enjoyed great success in India, including the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2013. The sub-continent conditions provide a great challenge for the players and they have to be diligent with their preparations given the extreme heat.
As a team we always like to experience new cultures and we enjoy getting ‘out and about’ in India and meeting the locals – who are more often than not cricket fans!
The ICC Women’s Twenty20 is being held in India in 2016 so the team will be hoping to win that title for the fourth straight time and we look forward to playing in front of passionate cricket fans.

7. What are the challenges you are facing in your country's cricket? If any, how do you feel to overcome those challenges?
Australian Cricket is striving hard to broaden cricket’s reach and appeal to ensure it is a sport for all Australians – men and women, boys and girls – from all different backgrounds. We want every Australian to feel represented in this great game and we feel that diversifying our fan and participant base will help to ensure that cricket continues to be an integral part of Australian culture. We believe that it is in cricket’s self-interest for our sport to be a place of gender equality and full empowerment for females of all ages. We want every Australian to feel represented in this great game Despite the long history, it is fair to say cricket has been conservatively and generally reluctant to promote female involvement in the game. Females are incredibly valuable to cricket in all facets of the game – including as players, administrators, coaches, officials and volunteers. Whilst slow to get going, we are now determined to make up for lost time. We are under no illusions as to the size of the challenge at hand, but we are already seeing good progress.

We are working hard to professionalise the women’s game and the restructuring of the contracting system for female international and state cricketers has seen our elite players become some of the best paid female athletes in the country. At the elite level we are continuing to provide our players with further opportunities, which includes the introduction of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), which is set to launch in the 2015-16 season. We want cricket to be the number one sport for girls and women in Australia and we believe that the WBBL can assist this goal by creating an inspiring visible pathway for the next generation of players, fans and volunteers.

We have decided to align the WBBL brands with the BBL brands, which we believe will help cricket to appeal to a broader audience and gain greater exposure. Our existing female domestic competitions are arguably the strongest in the world, with the continued success of the top-ranked women’s team, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, a testament to that. The WBBL will build on this foundation and will create a clear participation pathway for girls and their families, who are already engaged with cricket through the BBL.

We have enjoyed considerably increased media coverage of women’s cricket in recent years and, according to our media monitoring analysis, there has been an increase of more than 900 per cent in media reports about women’s cricket from season 2010-11 to season 2013-15. We are acutely aware that the gender imbalance in sports media reporting is still prevalent and we e will continue to work with media to ensure that our elite players are visible and we understand the importance of providing a quality product at the elite level to attract interest from the public and the media.

Players such as Meg Lanning, Alex Blackwell, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy continue to be exceptional ambassadors for Australian Cricket, both on and off the field. Their continued success has had a big impact on female participation, which saw a 39 per cent increase in the 2013-14 season, with females now making up 22 per cent of total cricket participants. Our elite players invest a huge amount of time and energy into their cricket and they each play an important role in promoting cricket as sport for all Australians. We want young girls to be able to dream about growing up and following in their footsteps and for this we need a visible pathway.

8. One thing that you instantly need that would boost the involvement of people in your country's cricket?
We feel the introduction of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) next season will help to increase the participation of females in cricket – as players, fans, volunteers and officials – by providing a visible pathway. We are very excited about the League and believe that the increased exposure of the game and the players will have a positive effect at all levels of cricket in Australia.

9. Name any 3 active Cricket Clubs from your locality, Country. Also mention the name and email id of these 3 clubs.
We have eight new elite women’s cricket teams that will be formed with the introduction of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) in 2015-16: Brisbane Heat, Sydney Thunder, Sydney Sixers, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Hobart Hurricanes, Adelaide Strikers, Perth Scorchers

10. Tell in brief (One paragraph). Which country are you supporting this World Cup? And Why?
I am looking forward to the upcoming World Cup tournaments in women’s cricket – the 2016 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in India and the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England. The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars are the defending champions in both tournaments and will be working harder than ever to retain the trophies.

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