Charlotte Edwards’ bit is done – good work

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When Charlotte Edwards first played for England, she wore a skirt. She didn’t choose to. She was obliged to.

That debut came when she was 16 (she played for the under-19s at 12) The women’s game has moved on since then and you might have expected her to have been left behind at some point in the intervening 20 years. Not so. She was the team’s top scorer at the recently completed World T20. Charlotte Edwards can bat well in kecks too.

But no more. It was widely expected that she would stand down as captain (after ten years!) but she’s no longer going to bat for England either having announced her international retirement.

This seems a shame and, dare we say it, wrong. But the choice is her own and she must have her reasons. Her retirement statement makes reference to ‘detailed discussion with Mark Robinson’ and it seems clear the coach wants to build ‘a new team’.

He will do well to match the old one. In 2009, Edwards captained England to wins in the World Cup, the World T20 and the Ashes. She has made 10,000 runs in internationals. An England cricketer can’t really do much more than that.

All of this was achieved with extra pressure. Representing your country is one thing, but the very best female players are still representing their gender as well. If you’re one of the top performers in a high profile game, the onus is on you to show what women can do. That shouldn’t be the case, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t how things are. The very fact that you are reading a web page means you are more forward-thinking than a good number of people who follow men’s cricket.

The women’s game has progressed during Edwards’ career. Once it was hardly written about at all. Now it’s written about a little bit. If intentions are better, it takes time for the near-alliterative circle of promotion, payment and spectators to turn. Each revolution sees a slight improvement in each facet which then encourages further growth in the other two – but take a snapshot of cricket at this moment and the women’s game is still miles from where it deserves to be.

It’s slow, but things are changing. When we started this website, the average cricket follower wouldn’t know a thing about the women’s game. Now the average cricket follower does.

For that change to have taken place, great cricketers were needed – because you can’t build a narrative without characters. With fewer high profile matches than the men, those characters also needed to persist.

After 20 years of international cricket, half as captain, we can safely say that Charlotte Edwards did her bit and more.

20 comments

    1. I think that might be the determinant of whether you qualify for the North or South teams for the match in the UAE.

  1. *Potentially controversial statement*

    Cricket strikes me as a sport (unlike, for example, Rugby or High-Shelf Reaching) where the odd mixed competition would be genuinely interesting to watch (maybe with 2 bowlers and 3 batsmen of each gender, plus a wicketkeeper of either gender?).

    There’s no reason that, say, a female spin bowler couldn’t be able to get 5 wickets against a men’s team, so it’s not as if the standard would suffer that much – you might even see a more nuanced game.

    *Ends*

  2. 1996? I went to the women’s ODI at Grace Road that year – about a month before Edwards made her Test debut.

    Inevitably, England were rubbish.

  3. I’m also disappointed she’s retiring – can’t see the virtue in that to be honest. If she would have carried on playing as captain if given the choice, she probably shouldn’t be leaving just because she is no longer captain.

    Her choice, obviously, but makes you wonder if she isn’t leaving in the manner she deserved to.

    1. I don’t really think it was her choice. “It became clear that Mark wants to build a new team and I fully support that.” Hmm.

      1. Balladeer: no, I didn’t get the impression of choice either. I get the feeling that, had nobody raised the issue, she’d just have carried on captaining. Which would imply she thought she was still good enough to contribute – but then, I think it’s a safe assumption that she believes that. She’d be mad not to.

        I can see the benefits of a shake-up every now and then, but – perhaps because I’m not aware of the politics of it all – can’t see why this particular act of shaking would be expected to make the England team any better.

    1. Ah shit. That is desperately sad. Cozier was proper good.

      We’ll try and write something in the coming days. We’re not ignoring the news. We just struggle for time sometimes.

    2. Enjoyed his commentary very much – he was also a very good writer. For all their communication skills, not many folk in the business can do both well.

    3. I heard word earlier this week that he was not well, but still a shock and great sadness.

      I had the tremendous honour and pleasure of meeting Tony Cozier a few years ago when href=”http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-west-indies-2012/engine/current/match/534204.html”>Middlesex played the West Indians at Lord’s. He was delightfully interesting company. In conversation, he wore his majestic intelligence and. knowledge of cricket lightly.

      His commentary also had that rare blend; utterly authoritative, yet easy on the ear. Listening to his commentary was like sitting next to a well-informed friend who is keeping you in the picture about a subject.

      There are all too few left who make cricket commentary an art. Now that Tony Cozier has gone, there is one fewer.

  4. I stopped after.
    Oops… looks like something went wrong! This page does not exist or has been moved.

    Very funny

    1. What I’ve read is that she was going to be excluded from the next series, then possibly come back in after that. And rather than play the merry-go-round, she decided to retire outright. Which was still the only thing she could have done to keep her dignity intact in my opinion.

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