Sunday, March 8, 2009

Let’s Hear It For The - Who? -- Zephirine

The England Cricket XI is ranked no 1 in the world.
The England Cricket XI includes the top-ranked batsman in the world.
The England Cricket XI includes the top-ranked bowler in the world.
The England Cricket XI has just retained the Ashes.
Last year the England Cricket XI beat the West Indies, South Africa and India.
Currently the England Cricket XI is playing in the World Cup in Australia, and has a good chance of winning.

All of the above are true.

Yep, it’s the Women’s XI.

Unlike their male counterparts, who are well-paid, well-publicised, expensively sponsored, and over the last few years have alternated being maddeningly inconsistent with being downright useless, the women are semi-professional or amateur, don’t get much sponsorship or media coverage, and over the last 18 months have become world-beaters.

You’re used to seeing the England men in adverts for Boss or expensive watches... here’s the top-ranked bowler in the world (female), Isa Guha, at her part-time job as a lab technician:

(picture by Christopher Lee from Cricinfo)

Now, all right, women’s cricket isn’t quite like men’s, they don’t play many Test matches for a start, they don’t bowl as fast or hit as hard. But the same is true in most sports. Women’s tennis gets plenty of press coverage. Perhaps the cricketers should play in short dresses and frilly knickers...

During the Olympics, we all got to know our Victoria Pendleton from our Rebecca Adlington. But apart from a very brief phase when the England captain Charlotte Edwards (ICC Women’s Player of the Year 2008) was in contention for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, we don’t hear much about the cricket players. Sports editors don’t bother to cover the competitions, even when England are winning.

But how many sports can you name in which the England team is the best in the world? Exactly.

So, UK Pseuds, keep an eye on the papers for those small paragraphs, and if – when – the girls win the World Cup Final on March 22nd, raise a cheer and maybe drink their health. Because they’re worth it.

Women’s World Cup fixture list:


Zephirine said...

I forgot to say that the second photo is Charlotte Edwards, the England captain. The frequently victorious England captain, as opposed to the other one.

mimi said...

And Australia have lost to NZ. One small spark on an otherwise rather bleak day, sportswise.

Zephirine said...

Excellent. England play India on Tuesday.

bluedaddy said...

I heard something on the radio about the success of England's women's team, so this expands my knowledge a little further Zeph.

Some burning questions arise:

The team represents England - aren't we doomed to be disappointed soon enough?

Was the whole batsman/batswoman nomenclature issue debated at any point?

Are we allowed to say that Isa is a hottie (as is Ebony Thingy-Wotsit)?

And last but surely not least, what does Chanelle make of all this?

Zephirine said...

BD, they used to be disappointing in a thoroughly English kind of way, and probably one day they will be again, so we should enjoy this sunny spell while we can.

They are officially called batsmen, though I expect a lot of them say 'batter' in that new-fangled Antipodean way. I don't know if they got asked but I wouldn't have thought most of them would like 'batswoman', somehow.

Ebony-Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent undoubtedly has one of the best names in cricket, and I think it's OK for you to say she and Isa are hotties, they look like girls who could deal with that:)

Chanelle has been very quiet lately, the last I heard she was planning to get married to Karl the football anorak, so maybe blogging has not been on her mind...

Pinkerbell said...

After a long time spent in the car this weekend trying to remain enthusiastic whilst the England v WI was even boring the commentators, my attention picked up again during a feature on the women's team. How typical that there should only be mention of a winning women's team when the men (doing their best perhaps on bad pitches but still crashing towards a drawn series at best) have gone for their cucumber sandwiches! Maybe it's because women's teams are fairly new and because women used to be excluded from the higher ranks that somehow we're still seen as second class citizens, whereas women always played tennis.

Zephirine said...

Well, according to Wikipedia the first mention of a women's match was in 1745. There's also a nice quote from James Lillywhite's Cricketers' Annual for 1890: "As an exercise, cricket is probably not so severe as lawn tennis, and it is certainly not so dangerous as hunting or skating; and if, therefore, the outcome of the present movement is to induce ladies more generally to play cricket, we shall consider that a good result has been attained."

And of course, there is evidence that women actually invented cricket, as I proclaimed in an article long ago on this site.

I think the problem was that the women's game stayed separate and amateur while the men's version developed. But apparently, like women's football, it's now increasingly popular with da yoof.

Wisden Greengrass said...


When ah were a lad in Deep Lancashire, we called 'em "batters" and "ballers".

Please put them in touch with Ingrid - she's a "hottie" and she'd like a trial.

Zephirine said...

Aha, GG, 'batters' is clearly the original form, then.

Would Ingrid have time to train properly, with all her other activities?

guitou said...

The eternal battle of the sexes is always favoring the women may be because they are better and smarter but if they were physically stronger 90% of men would be victims of domestic violence-stats confirmed-
It's frightening just thinking about it , I need a drink.
Thanks Dog, he created the man first-
Btw may be Adam and Eve were just playing an innocent cricket game with the aple and the tabloids changed the story-

wisden greengrass said...

our Ingrid is as fit as a butcher's dog - not in spite of her "other" activities, but because of them.

Zephirine said...

Yeah, it was that snake, Guitou, he sold his story and spun it to make it look like he was the reason for everything...

I was watching a bit of England-India last night - not today, sorry, my bad, the matches are overnight our time, of course, being in Aus, there's some coverage on Sky from 11.00 pm. England beat India comfortably, and certainly in what I saw the bowling was precise and reliable (men's XI please note). Isa Guha is a delight to watch, she's not very tall but very neat in all her movements, gets through her overs quickly, tough and persistent.

But it's a different world - apart from not being great tall hulks like most of the men, they look so much younger.

So it doesn't look as if they need Ingrid on the field, GG, maybe as Events and Entertainments Manager?

guitou said...

yes indeed the snake, it was the snake who bit the apple , sent it to his friend Mac in touch with the real world!
sent from my aie aie phone-

Mac said...


I shall continue to proclaim my innocence.

Wisden Greengrass said...

she's really looking forward to it.
She's borrowed the dog's muzzle so she can be a proper batter, too.

guitou said...

hi mac,

off the hook you are due to lack of evidence on the hard disc;:)

mimi said...

Shame about Jenny Gunn but it looks as though, unlike with the men, distractions off the pitch do not stop our women winning, and handsomely.

Only lost one wicket in the last match against India. Into the super six stage and all power to them.

offsideintahiti said...

Yeah, let's hear it for the milkmaids!

gg, if you see Ingrid, tell her I need that paddle back asap.

Ingrid said...

I can give you back the paddle when the season is over - signed by all the milkmaids.

crikfan said...

Nice celebration of International Women's Day with this article, Zeph.

England's squad for ICC Women's World Cup 2009, the leaner & the meaner gentlewomen, introduced by Catherine Brunt:

Zephirine said...

Thanks for the link, crikfan - a supreme effort there from Brunt, she obviously drew the short straw and got landed with doing the ECB video!

mimi said...

It is an uncomfortable looking interview. I hope the girls have got plenty of ECB brownie points.

crikfan said...

Lack of media coverage, ok, not so good, but if a young lady has a desire to know about cricket, specially from the women cricketer's point of view, there isn't much literature to read either. I couldn't find a single book title. May be the current generation of women cricketers will write some day?

zeph said...

Crikfan, I looked on and there were a few books under Women's Cricket, but nothing much, most of the recent ones seemed to be about Australia. None of the ghosted autobiographies the men seem to publish after about 3 Test matches!(though that's the publishers'fault). The ECB website has a good women's section and so does Cricinfo, I guess that's where the young girls who are keen on cricket would go.

zeph said...

And, sorry again, there's a serious mistake in this piece - it says at the top that England 'will probably retain the Ashes.'

We already have.

munni said...

Here's an article that makes them seem very appealing, I thought:

In semi-related news, the new Women's Pro Soccer league debuts in LA next week, I've got my tickets.

mimi said...

England go into the final against NZ as favourites. They've already beaten the Kiwis in this tournament.

Given what seems like a typically inept display from the men - OK they haven't lost the first one-dayer yet, but give it another hour or so - looks like it's up to the girls to restore some national pride.

zeph said...

Told you so.

ENGLAND WIN WORLD CUP, we don't often see that headline, now do we?

mimi said...

Superb win.

Is it too late for the men to get the women over to the caribbean for some lessons in how to play one-day cricket?

Zephirine said...

Mimi, I expect the girls could tell the men how to do it, but would they listen?

The women get through the overs at a cracking pace - obviously partly to do with the sort of bowlers they have, but even so - which keeps the pressure on, and they field with intent, never letting up. If the men could acquire those two skills it would make quite a difference.

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