June 25, 2009

Women's cricket

The excellence of women

Nishi Narayanan

The England women's team - Ashes winners, 50-over World Cup winners and now World Twenty20 winners - are, undoubtedly, the alpha females of their sport, writes Mike Atherton in the Times.

... when it comes to skills as opposed to power or speed, the women could teach the men a thing or two. Katherine Brunt was able to control the swinging ball under pressure on a finals day at Lord's in a way that has not always been apparent in men's finals, as Scott Boswell, of Leicestershire, who got the yips in the 2001 Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy final, would testify. Sarah Taylor, the England wicketkeeper, could pass on a tip or two to Matt Prior about soft hands (her stumping in the opening over of the final would have pleased James Foster) and I cannot remember a better chasing innings in a Twenty20 match than the one played by Claire Taylor against Australia.

According to Mike Selvey in the Guardian Claire Taylor is not only a very fine pugnacious batsman but has incredible drive, a cricket brain to die for, and a rounded view of life.

For England, expansion is the game now. Clare Connor, the former captain now in charge of women's cricket in this country, is adamant that the nettle has to be grasped on the back of the current achievements, the game promoted aggressively, the players too. These women should be English sporting icons as much as any of our celebrated female athletes. Already, women's cricket is said to be the fastest growing women's team sport in the country. There are now more than 450 clubs with women's and girls' sections. Participation has increased by 49 per cent in the last 18 months. Think what hammering home the current success will do.

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Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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