Today is International Women's Day, and the theme for this year is: ‘Choose to Challenge’. As far as career choices go, there are few more challenging than choosing to be an elite athlete.

In this exclusive CBA Newsroom two-part podcast series, Editor in Chief Danny John interviews three of Australia's most talented cricketers – including two up and coming stars – who know exactly what it is like to challenge the status quo and surpass expectations.

In this second podcast of the series, Danny interviews cricket up-and-comers Hannah Darlington and Stella Campbell on their current rise through the ranks, and how players like Ellyse Perry have paved the way for young women to enjoy cricket as a passion and as a professional career.

All-rounder Ms Darlington has just been named the youngest captain (either men’s or women’s) in NSW’s 165-year history. This follows her recent maiden selection for the Australian squad that is set to tour New Zealand at the end of March. Meanwhile, fast bowler Ms Campbell made her debut during the 2019/20 season for both the Sydney Sixers and the NSW Breakers. By the end of the season she had been selected for the Governor-General’s XI to play India, and even joined the Cricket Australia squad in a warm-up match prior to the Women’s T20 World Cup.

In this podcast episode, Ms Darlington and Ms Campbell speak about the significant investment that has been made to help grow the women's game – from grassroots to elite – and how sponsorships like that of Commonwealth Bank’s long-standing partnership with Cricket Australia has made the game far more accessible for young cricketers like them. 

CBA has sponsored the Australian Women’s Cricket Team and the women’s pathway teams for over 20 years. The sponsorship funding goes towards initiatives like the Growing Cricket for Girls Fund, which creates opportunities for girls of all ages to play, compete and learn. The bank also sponsors the National Female Talent Pathway helping young cricketers to maximise their talent through competitions and programs, which Ms Darlington and Ms Campbell are part of.

Partnerships such as this has transformed the game, helping budding young female cricketers to now make a career out of the sport they love.

In the podcast, Ms Darlington and Ms Campbell say they feel very fortunate to know that they could potentially make a full-time career out of their passion.

Ms Campbell said many of the women’s cricketers who played before her didn’t have the same opportunities that are now afforded to her.

“Many had to work on the side of being cricketers so it's definitely a change for us, and it's a positive one that women now can look at cricket as a full-time career,” she said.

Ms Darlington reflected on the role cricketers like Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning have played in the game – both on and off the field.

“I think they've been the two front runners in terms of leading the way in Australian women's cricket,” she tells Danny John in the podcast.

“They've done an amazing job in paving the way, breaking records, and being enormous role models for every young cricketer out there.”

To listen to the full podcast with Hannah Darlington and Stella Campbell and hear how these young women are enjoying cricket as a passion and as a professional career, click on the link below.

It follows part one with cricket superstar Ellyse Perry, available to listen to in the related articles.