Charlotte Edwards backs women’s cricket to keep ‘growing and growing’
Former England captain Charlotte Edwards still pinches herself when reflecting on the steps taken to expand women’s cricket and is relishing the thought of what can be achieved in the next five years.
Edwards began her illustrious 20-year playing career in the amateur era but she was among the first recipients of a central contract in 2014 as part of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s pledge to reinvest in the women’s game.
Chief executive Tom Harrison insisted last September the women’s game was “fundamental” to the ECB’s future and that was underlined recently when full-time domestic contracts were awarded to 41 female cricketers.
Edwards, who on Thursday became the first female president of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, is hopeful there are more in the pipeline, with the Southern Vipers head coach adamant the deals are already having an impact.
She told the PA news agency: “Working day-in, day-out with the players you see the massive difference it’s made already. In the six months these girls have had contracts, I’ve seen how much improvement they’ve made.
“We’re hoping for more. In the next five years I’d love to see a fully professional Southern Vipers team and every region around the country. That for me is the next step for women’s domestic cricket.
“The women’s game just keeps growing and growing, I have to pinch myself most days and think ‘where’s it going to go to next’? I think it’s the biggest growth area in cricket: young girls out there in all sports.
“We really are seeing the benefits of that kind of investment and I think in the next three to five years, who knows where the game can go and how many young girls will be playing around the world and around this country?”
While Edwards, who skippered England to a limited-overs World Cup double in 2009, hailed the ECB’s continued efforts to shine a spotlight on the women’s game, she is fearful that some countries are starting to fall behind.
As well as expressing concern that some international teams have not played since the T20 World Cup last March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Edwards pointed out the one-sided nature of some recent contests is unpalatable.
However, Edwards is optimistic a bumper next 18 months, featuring England’s defence of their 50-over World Cup crown as well as cricket’s return to the Commonwealth Games, will sharpen the focus of some governing bodies.
She said: “I think we’re doing a fantastic job in England, the worry for me is globally. To think that some of the teams have not played a fixture in the last 12 months and their male counterparts have is really disappointing.
“We need a strong eight teams playing international women’s cricket. I’m getting fed up of watching games that are just not competitive and it’s not a great spectacle for women’s cricket.
“But with the World Cup 12 months away now, hopefully boards will look to prioritise women’s cricket in the lead up to that and the Commonwealth Games next year.”
Edwards has succeeded Graham Gooch at the PCA for an initial two-year term, a role she is looking forward to juggling alongside her Vipers duties, while she will also lead Southern Brave in The Hundred this summer.
The 41-year-old added: “When I was asked, I felt like it was the right time for me to get involved.
“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved but I’m really excited about what the future brings for the game. I’m very proud of where the women’s game sits right now and this is another example of us moving the game forward.
“I really want to give back. There are so many people who have finished playing and come on hard times. To think we can help past players as well as current players, it’s going to be a rewarding role over the next few years.”
Kisma News: How India might rebound from a disappointing 2022
When the Virat Kohli – Ravi Shastri era ended towards the end of 2021, most Indian cricket fans figured that the team was in for a reset…
Alice Capsey’s West Indies tour ended by broken collar bone
The all-rounder suffered the injury while fielding during England’s win in the opening ODI on Sunday.
England all-rounder Alice Capsey returns home after breaking collarbone
Capsey made 17 opening the batting in Sunday’s first ODI in Antigua.
Ben Stokes hails ‘mind-blowing’ achievement from England in Pakistan
England took five wickets in the final session to secure victory.
James Anderson: Test win over Pakistan one of the best I’ve been involved in
England have rarely had to work harder to claim a result than over the past five days.
‘A masterclass’ – Former England captains hail Ben Stokes after Pakistan opener
Stokes once again lived up to his ultra-aggressive ideals as he found a way to force an unlikely result.
Aggressive England clinch thrilling first-Test win over Pakistan
Ben Stokes’ bold captaincy paid off as the tourists narrowly beat the setting sun in Rawalpindi.
England toil away with little reward as Pakistan edge closer to Test victory
Pakistan required just 86 more runs to win with five wickets remaining going into the final session.
Pakistan turn up pressure on final morning of first England Test
Although they reached the break at 169 for three in their second innings, the hosts’ single loss was the key wicket of Imam-ul-Haq.
Liam Livingstone to miss rest of Pakistan tour with knee injury
Livingstone will return to the UK on Tuesday.