Cathryn Fitzpatrick picked up 180 wickets in 109 ODIs for Australia Women © Getty Images
By Bharath Ramaraj
On the International Women’s Day, we look back at some of the greatest pioneers for women’s cricket from around the world. Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick is one of them. For a little more than a decade and a half, the right-arm fast bowler, Cathryn mercilessly sent batswoman packing back the pavilion with her seam bowling. The ability to bowl deceptively quick and combine it with metronomic line and length left many a batswomen gasping for oxygen while facing her.
Cathryn, made her Test debut for Australia against India at Adelaide Oval in 1991. Since making her debut, Cathryn went onto play 13 Tests to take 60 wickets at a heart-warming average of 19.11. She also played 109 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and waded through many battles to scalp 180 wickets. Just like a true fast bowler, Cathryn hated to gift runs and that is manifested in her jaw-dropping economy-rates across all formats.
Her moment of glory came in the 1997 World Cup when she scalped 12 wickets at a spellbinding average of 8.83. Almost a decade later in the 2005 World Cup, she was in remarkable form yet again by snaring 10 wickets at 17.10, and that too at the age of 37. Incidentally, Australia won the World Cup on both occasions.
Cathryn, unlike other quick bowlers in the women’s game, largely thrived on seam bowling. She was never great at bowling boomerang bending swingers to leave the batswomen in a state of dizziness. But her ability to generate seam movement off the track and bowl quickly gave sleepless nights for the batters. She was also renowned as one of the quickest bowlers going around in the women’s circuit and has clocked speeds of around 80 mph.
Cathryn last played in the quadrangular series held in India in 2007. Since walking into retirement life, she has taken up many coaching roles. At present, she is the coach of the Australian women’s team.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)