Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Rise in English profile pleases Edwards

A further rise in profile of the women’s game leads many positives for England captain Charlotte Edwards, whose side narrowly missed out on World Twenty20 glory in Sri Lanka.

Requiring six from the last ball of the final to overhaul Australia’s 142, England lost a tense game, which preceded the men’s showpiece at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium, by four runs.

Until then they had won every match in this year’s competition, including beating Australia seven wickets in the group stage, to take their T20 record to 25 competitive victories from 26 before the final.

With England’s men eliminated by then, Edwards’ team enjoyed a significant following at home through increasing media coverage in the United Kingdom.

“Coming back, you realise the support we had - and the awareness the game has had over the last three weeks has been fantastic,” Edwards told ecb.co.uk. “That’s something for us to be really proud of.

“The final was just such a great advert from women’s cricket. We’re bitterly disappointed but we know that as a team we’ve done so much for the game and that’s something that we’re really proud of.”

England women’s star will soar further if they retain the 50-over World Cup in India early next year, which is now Edwards’ chief target.

“The great thing for us as a side is we’ve got an immediate focus in terms of the 50-over World Cup,” she added. “We’re not going to dwell too much on what happened in Sri Lanka.

Darren Sammy, Mahela Jayawardene, Jodie Fields & Charlotte Edwards
The captains line up before the World Twenty20 finals.

“I was really proud of what the team achieved and just ultimately on the day we weren’t quite good enough. We know where we went wrong; we weren’t disciplined enough with the ball and that was a common theme throughout the whole tournament.

“Ninety per cent of the times we played we were more than good enough. It’s very small margins in Twenty20 cricket and that showed really showed in the final.”

Asked whether she views Australia as England’s strongest rivals for the 50-over crown, Edwards replied, “Absolutely. The momentum’s with them now; they’ve won a major event.

“They’re going to go home and play a lot of cricket now because they’re in season. I don’t think we can rule out India, West Indies and New Zealand in that form of the game either.”

Just how evenly-matched Australia and England are was demonstrated by each having four players in the World T20 team of the tournament.

“Australia and England played the best cricket throughout the competition and I’m not surprised at all that reflected in the team of the tournament,” said Edwards, who was accompanied by Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor and Katherine Brunt.

“The two teams are very close together in terms of player for player. There was no surprise. It was always going to be a close final. All our games, although we beat them in recent times, they’ve all been really close so we knew the final was going to be more of the same and they’ve got some fine players who really stood up on the day.”

Edwards herself was voted player of the tournament, having been its leading run-scorer with 172 in five innings.

“It’s something I’m very proud of,” she added. “I worked extremely hard on my game before the tournament so it’s nice that all that hard work has paid off, but it’s kind of little consolation for me.

“In a few weeks’ time it’ll probably sink in and probably at the end of your career you realise that those things are quite important. Unfortunately I’d much rather have the (T20) World Cup than the player of the tournament trophy.”

Having had a week off, Edwards and her team-mates are already working on their fitness.

“The girls are off until November 1 but I think most of us are back in the gym,” she said.

“It’s quite a quick turnaround to India. I’ve just got straight back into the gym but I think our cricket training will start early November and lead into January when we go away."

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Standard letter - Forget KP, report women's success...

Our letter to the Evening Standard...

What a shame. This Thursday morning once again saw England's women battle for a final spot in the T20 Cricket World Cup, yet the papers and broadcast media will continue to occupy themselves with the return of a petulant child (albeit a talented one) to the male ranks.
After the successes of sportswomen during the Olympics and Paralympics, it is disappointing to once again see the back pages of the mainstream return to such egotistical and testosterone driven drivel.
Women’s cricket has seen unrivalled success in the past decade and yet, despite the growing numbers taking part, is still largely ignored. Instead of constant reporting on whether KP texts his mates about his mates or not, let’s get back to the proper and engaging style of sports coverage that lifted a whole nation during the summer.
Get back to reporting on the success of women.

Nick Thompson
twitter: @womencricket

Let us know what you think. Leave a comment below.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Taylor is underlining her number one status

Sarah Taylor might have to consider changing her nickname after being dubbed 'the Rock' by Charlotte Edwards.

The England women's captain bestowed the new moniker on the star batter during Monday's victory over Australia where Taylor scored an unbeaten 65 from just 53 balls.

Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor clips the ball through midwicket during her innings of 65 which helped England women to a seven-wicket win in Gall

Yet Taylor, the number-one ranked Twenty20 batsman, did not have it all her own way. After struggling during the early part of her innings, the Sussex star battled the urge to swipe her way out of trouble in favour of dropping anchor.

"Lottie helped me a lot during that innings," Taylor revealed to ecb.co.uk.

"She said, 'You are our rock. If you stay in then we will win the match'.

"That meant a lot to me. It was a nice thing for her to say. It made me want to see it through to the end.

"In the past I might have got to 50 and got out but after Lottie said that I knew I had to see us home.

"I struggled to get it off the square. The pressure was mounting and we were behind after 10 overs but I never thought we were going to lose the game."

After a below-par performance in the field which allowed Australia to post a challenging 144 for five, England looked in trouble midway through their innings as spinners Lisa Sthalekar and Erin Osborne took a hold of the game.

Sarah Taylor
A happy Taylor clinches her fist in celebration as England beat Australia to confirm their semi-final clash with old foes New Zealand

With England needing 90 runs from 10 overs, Taylor, mature beyond her 23 years, joined forces with Danni Wyatt and the pair threw off the shackles, hitting 10 boundaries to see England home with 11 balls to spare.

"I have to give it to Australia, they bowled really well," said Taylor.

"When (Ellyse) Perry and (Rachael) Haynes came back on we had to go for it. The run-rate was up at eight and nine - it was a case of live by the sword, die by the sword.

"Danni Wyatt was phenomenal. She played two amazing shots over the top off Perry. It was great to watch.

"In the end it looked like we cruised it but it felt a lot closer than that."

The seven-wicket victory - England were the only side to win all three group games - confirmed a semi-final meeting with New Zealand on Thursday.

"We have got the better of them in recent years but we won't be underestimating them," insisted Taylor.

"They have a lot of experience in their side and we will spend Wednesday having a good look at them."

Perhaps ominously for New Zealand is Taylor's assertion that England have yet to hit top form since arriving in Sri Lanka.

"We seem to be getting better with every game we play but we still haven't produced the complete performance," she said.

"Hopefully on Thursday we can get the bowling and fielding right as well as the batting."