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.
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.
“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
Ben Stokes could bowl in fourth Test as England look to level series
Stokes has not bowled competitively since early July and initially had no plans to do so in this series.
England batter Ollie Pope unfazed by ‘interesting’ Ranchi pitch for fourth Test
The 26-year-old believes the surface doing a fair bit “definitely brings us into the game”.
Cricket’s economic influence in India – a comprehensive analysis
An interesting read.
India batter Virat Kohli announces birth of child on social media
The 35-year-old had made himself unavailable for the ongoing series against England due to personal reasons.
I have plenty going on – Colin Graves explains not apologising to Azeem Rafiq
Graves officially returned as Yorkshire chairman on February 9.
India set to rest star paceman Jasprit Bumrah for fourth Test against England
Bumrah is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 17 dismissals at a stunning average of 13.64.
ECB lacked ‘backbone’ for not calling out Lord Botham’s criticism of ICEC report
The former England all-rounder and Durham chairman described last summer’s findings on discrimination in cricket as “nonsense”.
Alice Capsey eyeing World Cup glory as teen looks to build on rollercoaster 2023
The 19-year-old has added plenty to her ‘toolbox’ after World Cup and Ashes experiences in 2023.
Will England change ‘Bazball’ approach after heavy third Test defeat to India?
There have been suggestions that England’s aggressive approach needs to be refined.
Brendon McCullum adamant England will not change methods despite huge defeat
The tourists slipped 2-1 behind in the five-match series.