OK, here’s a question for you; which current senior England cricketer has the highest test batting average? Most people would probably guess at either Alistair Cook or Kevin Pietersen, right? Well you’d be wrong. With a test average of 49.09 it’s actually Charlotte Edwards, the captain of the England women’s team. I’m not trying to make a serious statistical point here, just showing that there is plenty of talent beyond the men’s team and that perhaps it would be a good thing if that was more widely recognised.
Thankfully, things are starting to change and there has been some good coverage in the mainstream press about the fact that today sees the start of the Women’s Ashes, with a test match being played amongst the beautiful surroundings of Wormsley Cricket Ground in Buckinghamshire.
The Women’s Ashes began in 1998 when a bat signed by both teams was ceremonially burnt and sealed within a trophy. However, the history of England women playing Australia at cricket actually goes back to 1934 when the first test series was played. Over the years the format has varied from a single test, right up to a 5 match series (as played in 1984). Australia has had marginally more success than England over the years and they are the current holders, having beaten England in a single test match in Australia in 2011.
The format has been totally reinvented for 2013, which sees a single test match being played, followed by 3 one-day matches and 3 T20 games. Points are awarded for each game and the points tally will decide the final destination of the trophy. It’s a novel format, but has it’s benefits in that they will be playing all over the country, hopefully allowing more people to attend the games. The 3 T20 games will be shown live on Sky Sports, and two of the T20s will be played directly before the Men’s games which should see them playing in front of big crowds.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have been very supportive of women’s cricket in recent years and the results have followed, with them winning both the World Cup and World T20 competitions in 2009 and narrowly losing the World T20 to Australia last year. The sport is not without it’s problems though, mainly caused by a lack of appetite for women’s cricket amongst other nations (the last test match that England played was the Ashes match against Australia in 2011). Things are moving in the right direction though and hopefully this series will increase the exposure even further. We can all do our bit by shouting about it from the rooftops and trying to attend some matches.
There will be live coverage via the BBC Sport website
The Women’s Ashes 2013
11-14 August: Only Test, Wormsley
20 August: 1st ODI, Lord’s
23 August: 2nd ODI, Hove
25 August: 3rd ODI, Hove
27 August: 1st T20, Chelmsford
29 August: 2nd T20, Southampton
31 August: 3rd T20, Chester-le-Street