Last month Charlotte Edwards celebrated a double ton at the helm of the England women’s team and in turn we celebrate her timeless class.
On February 24, 2015, at Lincoln, New Zealand, England Women secured a 2-1 Twenty20 series win. The match – a professional five-wicket win – played in front of a crowd that included ECB managing director Paul Downton and Kiwi legend Richard Hadlee, was something of a side note.
It marked Charlotte Edwards’ 200th game as England captain, a position she was first given in 2005 before she was able to call it her own in 2006. Clare Connor, the outgoing captain, now the head of women’s cricket at the ECB, was unequivocal: “It’s quite staggering”.
Across three forms, a few players have achieved the feat in international cricket. All seven of them have been men which, given the amount of cricket on offer, in all three forms, is hardly surprising, but it does emphasise Edwards’ longevity and drive.
In terms of the breakdown, it’s been nine Tests, 109 ODIs and 82 Twenty20s, across 10 years. In that time, Edwards has marshalled her side to three Ashes series wins, a World T20 and a World Cup, both in 2009. She says she wants to go on till the 2017 World Cup – of course she does (she probably will as well) – such is her hunger for the game.
Her record with the armband is slightly better than without – impressive considering how much the women’s game has moved on in terms of speed and innovation. Since 2011, a calendar year hasn’t ended without her registering an ODI century.
The ECB released a video in which tributes poured in from teammates out with her in New Zealand. Among all the celebrations of her quirks – pounding her fist into her palm before offering a “We’ve got this, ladies,” at the end of each team talk, over-the-top celebrations, shoulder jigging on the dance floor – were moments that spilled into emotional reverence.
When discussing her finest knocks, a few chose the 92 off 59 balls against Australia at Hobart that secured the 2013/14 Ashes. Others chose the 137 at Lincoln, New Zealand, in 2012, which some rank as the best women’s knock in recent memory. Jenny Gunn fights back the tears to give her moment; a gritty ton scored by Edwards soon after the passing of her father. Those in the video are daughters of Edwards; cricketers who have grown up adoring and learning from her, all of whom are now professionals thanks to the work of their captain and those before her.
People refer to Edwards as “the first lady of cricket”. It’s a nice ditty, but she is much more than that. It is hard to think of many other players, English or otherwise, male or female, who have had such a profound effect on the game.
She has blazed a trail and expanded the women’s game beyond its own comprehension. Edwards is the best of cricket and human endeavour – and she’s ours.
Kia is the official car of England women’s cricket. Kia is the first ever official England women’s cricket partner and all contracted England women’s players have been provided with the new Kia Sportage car for the duration of the two-year sponsorship term.