January 27, 2011

Women's cricket

England's best captain

Sahil Dutta

Andrew Strauss may have secured the Ashes home and away but there is another England captain who can add to that the World Cup and the World Twenty20. While England may have lost the Ashes in a one-Test series at Sydney on Tuesday, Charlotte Edwards remains one of the leading lights in the game. Andy Bull, in his weekly Spin newsletter in the Guardian, profiles England's best captain and takes a wider look at women's cricket.

"Lottie," says Connor, "is a once-in-a-generation player." That much was clear when she made her Test debut aged just 16. At the time that made her the youngest woman to play for England, a record since broken by Holly Colvin. In her first Test Edwards opened the batting against New Zealand and made 34 and 39. "She always had terrific talent," remembers Connor. "The game came very naturally to her because she grew up watching her dad playing at Ramsey cricket club, like a little boy almost, living and breathing club cricket."

Edwards was such a gifted young player that she captained Huntingdonshire's county Under-16 boys team. Which is a hell of a thing to do when, as Edwards says, you have 16-year-old fast bowlers whanging down beamers at your head to try and prove a point. "Because she had been tested in boys county cricket, she broke into the senior women's game with quite a fanfare," remembers Taylor. That's no word of a lie. Among her first six ODI innings, all played before she turned 18, Edwards scored 102 against South Africa and 173 not out against Ireland.

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Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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