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Meet England's World Cup stars

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Alison Mitchell Alison Mitchell | 12:50 UK time, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Women's World Cup final is just around the corner and the England players are all very excited about Sunday. I won't tell you what Surrey all-rounder Ebony Rainford-Brent said she'd do if England won, suffice to say press officer Imogen Gaunt looked horrified.

The squad is a young one, with only five players over 25, but a core of eight all played in the World Cup four years ago.

I thought I'd draft a few notes to help people back at home, who don't normally follow women's cricket, get to know some of the England's key players - so here goes.....

Charlotte Edwards, captain (Kent) Age: 29
Bats at number four and usually brings herself on to bowl leg-breaks towards the end of an innings, taking 4-37 against New Zealand in the Super Sixes.

She was named ICC World Women's Cricketer of the Year last September and having worked for Hunts County Bats for many years, is now one of six players in this squad who have Chance to Shine coaching contracts, funded by the Cricket Foundation.

Edwards's contract is full-time, meaning she is paid a salary for 25 hours work a week over eight months, allowing her time for training and touring, together with a reliable income. This is her fourth World Cup, but the first time she has reached the final. Her mum is over here, staying in an apartment in North Sydney, which enabled Lottie to pop over for a 'home' cooked meal the other night.

Claire Taylor (Berkshire) Age: 33

Claire Taylor

Bats at three, is the most experienced member of the squad, and has been a consistent scorer for England for a number of years. Her undisputed talent is reflected in the ICC rankings, in which she is number one batter in the World. She's the leading run scorer at the World Cup so far, the only player to hit a century, and her strike rate - a healthy 100.39 - means she's capable of turning a game on its head.

At the last World Cup she took a sabbatical from her job in order to train and prepare properly. Now she works as a management consultant at Reading University, and in a recent blog, admitted to not getting enough money from cricket to cover the time off work she needs. This is a serious issue for women cricketers.

Her talents also extend to music, playing the violin in Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the sacrifices she makes for cricket is that she often has to miss big concerts due to playing commitments.

Sarah Taylor (Sussex) Age: 19
Opening bat/ wicketkeeper. The dark-haired teenager, who has a cheeky personality, already has a hundred at Lord's under her belt and was the youngest ever player to score 1,000 one-day runs. Winning the World Cup though, is her ultimate goal and shee hit her straps in the Super Sixes game against the West Indies with a sparkling 78.

Sarah's schooldays saw her play 1st XI boys cricket at Brighton College and she believes it's easier to keep wicket in the men's game, because the ball doesn't tend to come on as much in the women's.

Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire) Age: 23
Opening bowler. When you hear the blonde-haired Barnsley girl in an interview, she is sweetly spoken and sounds as if she wouldn't hurt a fly. When she gets the ball in her hand and marks out her run, however, you can't help but liken her attitude to that other fast bowler from Barnsley, Darren Gough. She holds her shoulders back, struts and glares, and is always entertaining to watch.

She's a very good bowler too, one of the quickest in the women's game. She's not tall, but she has a mean bouncer up her sleeve, and admits that channelling her aggression is something she's been working very hard on. Brunt, like Edwards, is on a full-time Chance to Shine contract.

Laura Marsh (Sussex) Age: 22
Off-spinner. Marsh is the leading wicket taker in the tournament so far, with 13 wickets going into Thursday's game against Australia. She was a seamer until about a year ago when she switched to spin and has been working closely with assistant coach and former Test off-spinner Jack Birkenshaw.

She's a student at Loughbrough University studying Sport Science, but it's proving a big challenge to juggle academic work with international cricket. She missed exams last February to compete in the Ashes in Australia, so she sat them before flying to the World Cup (a year late) and passed, despite the course changing some of the content without her knowing! She'll resume uni in January 2010, but by then all the friends she started with will have graduated.

Holly Colvin (Sussex) Age: 19
Left-arm spinner. The small, pony-tailed figure of Colvin first appeared in Test cricket at the age of 15 - the youngest player ever to do so - and she helped England win the Ashes in 05 and then retain them down under in 08. She flights the ball beautifully and tends to return miserly economy rates together with wickets.

She's one of these incredibly gifted but hard-working people - she got straight As in maths, biology, chemistry and Latin from Brighton College, despite all the time she puts into cricket. Her gap year has coincided perfectly with the World Cup, enabling her to go out to Australia early to join state side New South Wales Breakers.

Isa Guha (Berkshire) Age: 23yrs
Seam bowler and number one in the ICC world rankings. A skiddy bowler with less pace than Brunt, Guha relies on swing and took nine wickets in the Ashes Test against Australia a year ago. She's a biochemistry graduate from the University of London, but has been spending this winter playing Premier League cricket at Bankstown in Sydney.

She did, however choose to spend three days a week at a research lab at the University of Sydney to keep in touch with a future career. Guha is the first Asian woman to play cricket for England, and got interested in the game through playing back yard cricket with her older brother as she was growing up in High Wycombe.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Alison, good work on the mini-biographies. Will you be producing some more on some of the other players in a few days?

    Can you also provide some information on the size of the crowds at games over the Womens' World Cup? I'm hoping that they have increased from the last World Cup, and that attitudes have improved since last time, can you confirm?

  • Comment number 2.

    Oops, I should have checked before posting!

    By "attitudes have improved", I meant to say, has the attitude towards the Womens' game improved since the last World Cup? I was not questioning the attitude of any of the England players or those from other countries.

  • Comment number 3.

    Alison,

    Nice to see the player profiles and an attempt to inform the masses of the non-preofessional players conflicting life /cricket issues but you are preaching to the converted.

    Could you not knock on the door of Mr Bose and ask for someone to collate the highlights of this tournament for terrestrial TV? Then a few more young female cricketers maybe found / enlightened.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    A nit-picking comment - but you have Holly Colvin down as the youngest player to appear in a Test and I think that honour belongs to Sajjid Shah (Pakistan), whose first test appearance (at the age of 12) was against Ireland. (I could be wrong - but that's what I read, on cricinfo and on an earlier BBC team profile)

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Alison,

    It's good to see more focus on the woman's game, and highlight the struggles they face in terms of funding.
    Although the English games have received reports, it's disappointing the lack of coverage in terms of footage, either on the site, or on news channels (Be it News24 or bulletins). Is this due to a lack of percieved interest, or another reason?

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    FleetJack (message 6) - Holly Colvin is the youngest England player to appear in a Test.

  • Comment number 12.

    I for one would LOVE to follow Women's cricket - but nobody produces decent coverage. With the red button and all of the BBC's channels and resources (not to mention the web) you would think they could have taken this opportunity to give some exposure to the Women's game, but no...

    I hope the final will be a close match...but I definitely hope England win!

  • Comment number 13.

    The BBC should have had some coverage. I've got a VHS recording of the coverage they gave to the women's game when South Africa toured. From memory, that series had Charlotte Edwards scoring her first ODI ton for England...

    (a pause whilst I scurry to Cricinfo)

    Ye gads! 1997! Was it really 12 years ago? I feel dreadfully old now. Things have progressed so much since those days. That same match Edwards got her first ton, England fielded dreadfully and demonstrated some of the worst dropped catches ever. The female game now has gotten quicker and is far more entertaining. Therefore I do think it is poor for the BBC to have no coverage. Less snooker, more England ladies please!

  • Comment number 14.

    Women's cricket has progressed massively in the last 5 years, let alone 12 years. Its now a sport worthy of support and coverage. The bowling is more accurate, the fielding is excellent and the batting has changed out of all recognition. During the same period the England team has advanced massively - it was only three, maybe four years ago we were being hammered in India and couldn't beat Australia at any cost.

    It is a great shame the BBC are not showing any highlights but I guess Sky have the rights so presumably the BBC options are limited. At least the BBC have done a good job on this website and Alison's doing her best to raise the profile. A TMS broadcast of the final would be fab but presumably Alison would have to do it alone and even Aggers can't talk non-stop for 6 hours !










  • Comment number 15.

    It is great to have news of the women's game, and Alison is doing a good job in Australia. But how I wish I could stay up all night listening to the game against Australia and then the final on Sun! I am worried too that not enough coverage will be granted the men's World Cup Qualifiers which begin in South Africa (Gauteng) two weeks today. It's amazing how exciting some of these matches can be (witness Uganda v Hong Kong in BA in the previous round). The more coverage surely that can be afforded the 'lesser lights' the better. Even just now, on Cricinfo, I had to go to the special Women's Cricket file to get England v Australia info, and the ICC file has only a history (some of that inaccurate) of the ICC Trophy and nothing about a competition that begins in only 14 days' time!

  • Comment number 16.

    Womens' cricket is nearly at the top of a hill now - a lot of pushing has got it there - but there's still so much to be done before it can travel on its own momentum.

    Now is the time to build its profile and push for more money!!! Government, lettery and ECB need to pull their fingers (and fivers) out and realise that this makes exciting TV.

    The likes of Edwards and Taylor demonstrate the value of concentrating on the game with time off from the pressures of making a living. This benefits our country - and I'll wager that the better our women get, the more pressure it will put on the men's squad top perform better. I'm proud of them - they are a real inspiration.

 

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