Recently, Meg Lanning had become the youngest cricketer to lead a side to victory in an ICC event. Sudatta Mukherjee looks at the astonishing list of women cricketers who have captained at a younger age than their male counterparts.
Australian Twenty20 (T20) skipper Meg Lanning was 22 years old when she had led the Australian women’s team, the Southern Stars to the ICC Women’s World T20 2014 title. In doing so she had become the youngest cricketer to lead a side to title triumph in a global event. However, she isn’t the first cricketer to do so.
It has been a general norm to remember men cricketers, who have donned the captaincy cap at a very young age, but unknown to the general perception, it has been seen that women cricketers have enrobed many records before their male counterparts have. For example, it will be wrong to say that Sachin Tendulkar is the first cricketer to score a double century in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) because it is Australian Belinda Clark who is the record-holder. It will equally wrong to say Brendon McCullum is the first cricketer to score 2,000 T20I runs, as Charlotte Edwards had already achieved that target and it is Mithali Raj who became the first Indian cricketer to score 1,000 T20I runs.
The youngest cricketer to lead a side was Arran Brindle (earlier Arran Thompson). She was 19 years and 260 days old when she had led England against Scotland in an official ODI match at Reading in 2001.
The youngest male cricketer to lead a side in an international side was Rajin Saleh, when he led Bangladesh in an ODI match. He was well short of Brindle’s record. He was 20 years and 297 days old, leading his side in the Champions Trophy.
Lanning took over the captaincy of the Southern Stars in January 2014. She was 21 years when she took the charge. Three days before the start of the ICC Women’s World T20 2014, she turned 22.
West Indies women’s team might not be as popular as the men’s cricket team, however, Shermaine Campbelle has a unique record that none in the men cricket team has. Shermaine at a young age of 19 years and 338 days was asked to handle the West Indies side against England at Arundel in 2012.
Tatenda Taibu, the famous young Zimbabwe cricketer, more popular for leading his side at a tender age of 20 years 358 days. The youngest male cricketer to lead a team in T20I was Rodney Trott of Bermuda. He was 20 years and 332 days old, when he led Bermuda against Canada in 2008.
If women cricketers had the right kind of recognition, as their male counterparts then such small feats would not have been missed. Though, such records really do not matter much but to lead a team to a title triumph, when the team has players much older than her. In matter of months, under her Australia not only managed to win the ICC Women’s World T20 title but for the third time. Three cheers for the ladies!
(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)
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