ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Effective October 1, 2016, women’s cricketers on retainer from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) will see an increase in their pay package. The number of women on retainer will also move from 11 to 15.An agreement between the WICB and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) will see increases in annual retainer fees, sponsorship payments, match fees and captains’ allowances. The estimated increase will cost the WICB just under US$600 000 for the upcoming year. The new compensation package will benefit an unlimited number of non-retained players.Captain Stafanie Taylor appreciates the increase. She notes: “I believe we are stepping in the right direction. England and Australia are the two top teams where Women’s cricket is concerned and I think we can mirror what they are doing and get on their level. It’s good that the retainers and match fees have been increased and the girls love it. We hope that as time goes by more things will be improved.”Former captain Merissa Aguilleira is also happy. “I am really pleased and thankful about the increase. We have been working hard as a team with huge success. I strongly believe that an increase like this will only encourage us to work harder and continue representing the people of the Caribbean to the best of our abilities.”WICB CEO says, “We are hoping this new package (not only) will serve as an additional incentive for the current set of women, but (also) will serve as a drawing card to more women to be attracted to cricket.”WIPA president and CEO, Wavell Hinds, also thinks “our women senior team have been a solid elite performing group over the last decade, as such, the improvement and security in their compensation package is well deserved. We wish the team well for their upcoming home assignment”.West Indies women are now in camp for a home-series against England. The series will consist of five ODIs, the last three of which will count towards the ICC Women’s Championship, to be contested between October 8 and 19 at the Trelawny Multiplex and Sabina Park in Jamaica.A win in this series for the Windies women could seal a spot in the World Cup in the UK in June next year. West Indies are in second place with 20 points behind Australia. England are currently in third place.The ICC Women’s Championship, a multi-year bilateral competition, is between the top eight international women’s sides that will lead to automatic qualification for the top four teams.