Women’s game on upward trend and schools an important target – Anya Shrubsole

England World Cup winner Anya Shrubsole says women’s cricket is “definitely on an upwards trend” as she echoed the Lionesses’ calls to make sport more accessible to girls.

The pace bowler, who was instrumental in her country becoming world champions in 2017, was restricted to competing against boys during childhood.

England’s triumphant Euro 2022 footballers last week wrote a letter urging the next Prime Minister to give girls across the nation a chance to emulate their achievements by guaranteeing them a minimum of two hours of physical education per week.

Anya Shrubsole has echoed calls from England's triumphant Euro 2022 team
Anya Shrubsole has echoed calls from England’s triumphant Euro 2022 team (Danny Lawson/PA)

Southern Brave captain Shrubsole, who on Friday begins this year’s Hundred against London Spirit, believes there is currently a “feel-good factor” around women’s sport and thinks targeting schools is key to maintaining momentum.

“When I was younger, I played boys’ cricket and then women’s cricket, there wasn’t really much girls’ cricket around, that’s just how it was,” she told the PA news agency.

“But you look around now and that just isn’t the case, so I think it’s come a really, really long way already.

“The volume of girls playing just wasn’t there and now it is, so it’s definitely on an upwards trend, it’s just a case of continuing to push that.

“In the same way that the Lionesses wrote that letter about making football accessible in PE, I’d love to see the same in cricket as well.

“Schools are a really important target, where everyone can get involved in the game.

“The feel-good factor is the real big thing. We had the experience in 2017 with the World Cup and it’s that feel-good factor around women’s sport that can really grow.”

Shrubsole – the first woman to grace the front cover of the prestigious Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack – retired from international cricket in April, having twice lifted the 50-over World Cup.

She helped Southern Brave top the women’s standings in last year’s inaugural Hundred with seven wins from eight before they lost the Lord’s final to Oval Invincibles.

The 30-year-old expects the standard of the competition to be higher this time around as her side prepare for a sold-out opener at the Ageas Bowl.

“We obviously want to go one better and we felt like we played really good cricket most of the way through that competition last year and then just fell at the final hurdle,” said Shrubsole, speaking at KP Snacks’ summer cricket roadshow at Westquay Shopping Centre in Southampton.

“That’s the way it goes with this competition, on any given day people have got players that can win a game.

Southern Brave captain Anya Shrubsole is preparing to start this year's Hundred at a sold-out Ageas Bowl in Southampton
Southern Brave captain Anya Shrubsole is preparing to start this year’s Hundred at a sold-out Ageas Bowl in Southampton (KP Snacks/PA)

“All of the teams are stronger this year, I think that’s only natural given the Australians and the New Zealanders being a part of this competition.

“And also the domestic players, lots of them have had just over a year of being a fully-paid cricketer and the level of the domestic cricketer in this country is so much higher, so I think it’s going to be really tight.”

:: KP Snacks, official team partner of The Hundred, are touring the country this summer to offer more opportunities for people to play cricket as part of their ‘Everyone In’ campaign. Visit everyonein.co.uk/about