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2011 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated periodically throughout the year.

Bad news comes from Australia that Claire Taylor  will not be able to take part in the ODI series. The ECB press release is terse but to the point ..
England womenís batter (batsman-Ed.) Claire Taylor has today been ruled out of the England Womenís One Day International series against Australia women, due to a shoulder injury sustained during Englandís second warm-up match against Western Australia on January 3.

Taylorís availability will be reviewed before the start of the women's Twenty20 series.

[Claire Taylor]

England will thus have lost the world's best batsmen (batter is something that goes around fish!) and the coolest head on the park. Can the rest step up?
With the warm-up games somewhat lacking in respect of decent opposition it wasn't the best way to start a series. When the Australians come here perhaps we can find them a division 3 county to take on. Sorry WA but it has to be said.
Found on an Australian 'blog'
A quick examination of the batting line-ups of the top test teams shows that they are dominated by players who made their debut before the advent of international 20:20 cricket (i.e. Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Kallis, Smith, de Villers, Strauss, Cook, Petersen etc.). Arguably, Australia was the first to lose its seasoned "old guard" of batsmen. Many of these other nations will soon lose theirs. We are undergoing the transition to players whose techniques and attitudes have been forged in an entirely new cricket environment. What we are seeing reflects this ...
Hurts to say it, but the Aussie is dead right!!
[Late January]
It is only necessary to turn to page three of the Sun newspaper to gather the intellectual level of the publication. At least I assume it's still page three as it must be many years since one of my employees brought a copy in to work. And now comes comments from its cricket correspondent apparently confirming it prefers to remain in the Dark Ages.
I've been unable to track down the remarks in question but enjoyed reading this rebuff. Particularly interesting I felt was the remark about girls who play become girls who watch the men's game and thus bring money in to the ECB. You have only to catch a short session of play on Sky, or visit a men's international match, to realise how the proportion of men to women in the crowd has changed over the years. That's one side of the investment in women's cricket I hadn't thought of before.
The Australia/England ODI and T20 series is done (only 3 ODis  - yet 5 T20s - more on that at a later date) and the Ashes Test looms. And it is to be played at Bankstown!  "And your point is?" you may well ask. Well in an all too brief visit to Australia for the World Cup I visited (inevitably) quite a few cricket grounds. Bowral was very picturesque and almost English in its feel. The Museum there held much women's cricket history, and a match there would have seemed fitting. The main venue in 2009 was North Sydney Oval, a ground you certainly couldn't accuse of being 'English' in anyway and anyone would have been proud to say they'd played a match there. But Bankstown - well as club grounds go I've seen many worse, but I have also seen many superior. The staff (or club members?) there were most helpful and I'm sure the shop will offer spectators good service; the groundstaff may well prepare a good 4-day wicket, but somehow it leaves me feeling the Australian authorities still haven't taken the women's sport seriously. When the Ashes were last played for in England the ECB provided one of the finest grounds in the country at Worcester, a ground with full first-class cricket status and great facilities.
Should Australia win the forthcoming match, I don't doubt we'll hear plenty from the Aussie media. Did any of them ahead of the match suggest a more prestigious venue - not that I've noticed.
Meantime I am sure those involved at Bankstown will do their best to make it a great four days.

[Charlotte Edwards]

Charlotte Edwards holds the Ashes trophy after England retained them at Worcester in 2009

And as if to emphasise how the players feel, a Guardian article quotes the England skipper as hoping we can get back to playing a three match Test series. It seems she's well aware of what real cricket is about. If we leave it too long then a Test series might well turn into a shambles for all concerned. All the batsmen (yes - batsmen) will be expecting to complete four innings in a day, or at least it'll look that way to the spectators. Let's hope 'Lottie' gets her way and the basic skills in the game are not lost for a generation.
The Ramble continues...