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: http://content.cricinfo.com/wwc2009/content/series/351827.html?template=schedule