In each of our regular New Bulletins Raf Nicholson writes her observations on promoting women's cricket. You can read the latest edition below.
Greetings from a warm and sunny Perth, where I have the good fortune to currently be spending my time covering the T20 World Cup for The Guardian. It’s been an exciting few days since I landed Down Under, with both Australia and England having suffered defeats in their opening group matches. The tournament now looks wide open - who knows what will happen next? (Presumably you, as the reader, DO in fact know, given the time lag between me writing this and the Bulletin being published…!)
Australia’s 17-run loss came against India, who (chasing only 133) were bamboozled by India’s tiny (4ft 11) leg-spinner Poonam Yadav. Leg-spinners, and especially those who can bowl genuine googlies, are rare in women’s cricket, which makes them very difficult to face. Perhaps Poonam may yet “do a Shane Warne” and help to revive the art within the women’s game.
England, meanwhile, who - as the number 2 ranked team in the world - should really be aiming to reach the final, came off worst in a last-over thriller against South Africa. It’s only the third time that South Africa have ever got the better of England in the 20-over format, and it’s certainly upset the apple cart, as well as putting some of new coach Lisa Keightley’s stranger tactics (like batting England’s best batsmen Tammy Beaumont at number 7) under the spotlight.
One aspect of the match which has raised hackles in the Australian media is the fact that Katherine Brunt, when offered the opportunity to mankad South African batsman Sune Luus in the final over of the match, refused to do so. Luus has form here - having been mankadded by Sri Lanka a few months ago - but England were adamant after the match that “none of our team would ever do that”. Moments later, Mignon du Preez blasted a six at the other end and England’s hopes of victory were shot. I wonder if any readers of the Bulletin have views on the mankadding debate? (I’m sure our Editor will welcome letters on the topic!)
This isn’t my first time in Australia - I was here in January 2014 covering the Women’s Ashes. Back then, the Test at the WACA was staged in front of a tiny “crowd” of less than 100 people. So far this tournament, the record for the biggest ever crowd in Australia for a women’s T20 game has already been broken - 13,432 people showed up to watch Australia’s defeat at the Sydney Showground Stadium. The aim is for the final on 8 March to be staged in front of a full house at the MCG, which would be another incredible moment for the women’s game. It’s wonderful to be back here and see with my own eyes evidence of how far women’s cricket has progressed in such a short space of time. Whether England make it to the MCG or not, I can’t wait for 8 March.
The Cricket Society will be making history of its own this summer, staging our first ever “Day at the Women’s Cricket” at Worcester on 1 July. It would be great to see as many of you as possible there; more details can be found elsewhere in the Bulletin. Suffice it to say here: please don’t be put off if you haven’t seen much (or indeed any!) women’s cricket before. It really will be a great day out, and a good opportunity to see two of the world’s best teams (England and India) in action. We are also hoping that our new Vice President Charlotte Edwards may be able to put in an appearance (watch this space!)
I am the point of contact for the match so do get in touch with any queries. I look forward to meeting many of you on the day.