Chamari Athapaththu: Sri Lanka captain calls for more support for women's cricket

Chamari Athapaththu batting v England
Chamari Athapaththu was player of the match for her 55 in Sri Lanka's victory in the second T20 v England

Third T20 international: England v Sri Lanka

Venue: Incora County Ground Date: 6 September Time: 18:00 BST

Live coverage: Live on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer, radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and live text on BBC Sport website

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu has called for more exposure for women's cricket in the country.

Athapaththu, 33, was named player of the match for her half-century in Sri Lanka's historic victory over England on Saturday.

The shock result showed Sri Lanka's potential but Athapaththu says investment and franchise opportunities will help their development.

"It all depends on our performance," said Athapaththu.

"If we perform well, sponsors will come to help us.

"I think we need some more exposure and media support because sometimes our games are not televised, and some tours are not televised."

Athapaththu is Sri Lanka's most experienced player with 118 T20s and 95 one-day internationals to her name, and is their only female player to have played franchise cricket.

She had stints in the England and Wales Cricket Board's Kia Super League, which preceded The Hundred, and the Women's Big Bash League in Australia.

But she was not selected in the draft for this winter's WBBL despite impressive form with the bat that saw her top the ICC batting rankings earlier this year.

"I learned a lot of things from franchise cricket," said Athapaththu.

"Some people think that playing franchise cricket is all about money but it's not. We can learn a lot of things from senior players, different players, different cultures.

"We learn a lot about cricket, how to handle the pressure, how to adjust to the game, the conditions.

"I hope in next few years, some other Sri Lankan players also come and play franchise cricket and get those opportunities."

Athapaththu added that Sri Lanka are planning a T10 franchise competition in December, which she says would be a "turning point" for women's cricket in the nation.

Athapaththu was visibly emotional after levelling the series against England, and the series decider takes place in Derby on Wednesday.

With England boasting far more strength in depth, despite resting some key players including Nat Sciver-Brunt and Sophia Dunkley, Athapaththu says Sri Lanka were relishing the challenge of playing one of the world's best teams.

"I like the pressure and it's a very good opportunity for us as a team," she added.

"We need some exposure and if we're playing with the top teams, we can learn a lot from them."