By Paul Eddison, Sportsbeat

Women's cricket must learn the lessons from the men’s game and avoid falling into the same traps according to England captain Heather Knight.

Speaking at World Cricket Connects, an event at Lord’s hosted by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) designed for the leading voices in the game to discuss the health of cricket and consider the path required for its future success, Knight warned of some of the threats facing the women’s game.

With the advent of franchise cricket, notably the Women’s Premier League in India, women’s cricket is developing at a rapid pace.

And as the men’s game struggles to find space in the calendar for every format, Knight explained that while the women’s game is currently thriving, the consequences should they not find a solution to scheduling issues, would be even more severe.

She explained: “I think the women’s game is in a great spot. There is huge investment with the WPL and franchise competitions like the Hundred and the WBBL. 

"I think it will continue to grow super-fast, I think now is the time to really get hold of the game as a whole and govern it well for the best interest of where women’s cricket is going to go.

“If you let market forces take over, it will affect the women’s game more disproportionately than it has the men’s game. There is less depth in certain countries around the world, so if you lose players early to franchise comps, that will affect international cricket a lot.

“The level of funding and player salaries around the world is very different so it needs to be carefully managed to let franchise cricket and international cricket thrive together. As players, you want to be able to play for your country, but you also want the opportunity to play franchise cricket, have different experiences, improve your game on the pitch and earn a little bit of money, which we haven’t always been able to do as women’s cricketers.”

Knight spoke on the panel at the event, which brought in a wide range of voices including players, coaches, broadcasters, franchise owners and administrators.

The growth of the game, in particular on the women’s side, was a major talking point, as pay parity starts to be implemented in a number of countries.

It was important for Knight to have her voice heard, at what she believes is a critical juncture for the women’s game.

She added: “I wanted to be here and represent the women’s game. I think it’s a great concept to get loads of cricket brains from different facets of the game together to try to get everyone to understand each other’s pushes and pulls so we can try to shape it for the better.

“We can learn so much (from the development of the men’s game). It’s at a place now where we can shape things before it goes too far. Now in the men’s game, it has accelerated so fast that it is really hard to go back on that.

“You can see with a lot of the issues discussed around fitting in so much cricket that trying to go back is really tricky. We play less Test cricket so there is that extra space, but that space will be filled, there will be new franchise competitions. It’s really important, now is the time to govern it.

“You don’t want to stifle growth; you want investment and growth, but you want to shape it to have a plan for the women’s game in 10-15 years.”