Charlotte Edwards after England won the ICC Women’s World Cup 2009 © Getty Images
By Bharath Ramaraj
There are only few players who represent their country at the highest level at the tender age of 16 and fewer still, who go onto break the world record for the highest individual score at 17. Now, that is the truly awe-inspiring story of England Women’s captain, Charlotte Edwards.
The Huntingdon-born Charlotte’s early days were filled with watching her father and uncle play for Ramsay Cricket Club. It made her fall in love with the game. The tenacious young girl though, had to play with boys as only a few girls played cricket. Charlotte even had a fabled fantasy dream of playing for men’s team.
Actually, she went onto captain the Huntingdonshire’s Boys Under-16 team. During that time she played with future County stars like Will Jefferson and Scott Newmann. Those were the days when she had to use every ounce of her energy to prove her point. It got to such an extent that a few boys even tried bowling beamers at her.
Charlotte climbed up the ladder quickly and made her Test debut against New Zealand in 1996. She even shone brightly in a One-Day International (ODI) series against South Africa in 1997. But it was in the 1997 World Cup game at Hyderabad that her game touched celestial peaks. She broke the record for the highest individual score in ODIs against Ireland with an innings consisting of breathtakingly beautiful strokes. Unfortunately for her, Australia’s Belinda Clark broke that record on the same day.
Since then, she has gone from strength-to-strength to become one of the stalwarts of the game. Such has been her guts and determination that once Charlotte even convalesced from a career threatening cruciate ligament injury to come out as a true winner.
By the year 2006, there was yet another feather in her cap when she was anointed as the captain of the side. In 2010-11 Ashes, Charlotte yet again rose to the occasion by essaying a marvellous century at Sydney. It was an innings that she played when England was in dire-straits. With Ellyse Perry and Rene Farrell in the opposition ranks, Charlotte had to use all her experience to weather the storm. She has captained England to World Cup triumphs in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) as well. Recently, under her able stewardship, England even retained the Ashes Down Under.
In the last year’s World Cup held in India, the mettlesome cricketer showcased her fortitude and nerves of steel to stand up and be counted. Her twinkling innings against India at Mumbai encapsulated with full of on-side strokes proved to be the telling difference between both sides.
Charlotte Edwards, who holds the record for most runs in ODI career is a shining light in women’s cricket. She deserves her place among the pantheon of greats in the women’s game.
(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)