Listing Charlotte’s achievements should alone explain why we have chosen her as our ‘Outstanding athlete’ for this issue - but there is much more to her than that. Let’s start with a few of her achievements though:
- In 1995, aged 16, Charlotte was youngest player ever to have played for England
- In 1997, she scored 12 centuries
- She scored a then-record ODI score of 173 not out the day before her 18th birthday
- In March 2006 she was appointed as England Captain when Clare Connor retired
- She has played in over 180 One Day Internationals (ODI)
- Charlotte holds the record number of ODI appearances, beating Australian Karen Rolton’s previous record of 141
- She won the ICC Woman’s Player of the year in 2008
- She has led the England team in winning every format of the game
- Charlotte was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours
- In 2014, she was named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year, only the second English women’s cricketer to be so honoured
- She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to cricket
- She has made over 280 appearances for England in various Cricket formats
This list is a phenomenal one and one that even her male counterparts would be jealous of - not something you can often say.
To spend time with athletes like this is always interesting, listening, learning and gaining insight. For me the thing that stood out was Charlotte’s determination to be herself at all times and as their captain be straight and honest with the team. In all we talked about she would always come back to these points as her guiding principles. It all started with some advice she was given on taking the captaincy: “ ‘be yourself’, was the advice I was first given - and I have gone about things in a way that feels right for me,” Charlotte says of her foundation. It is one she has kept to.
Over the years Charlotte has built on this and as a result is not only a world-class player but also a world-class captain who has the full backing of her team: no matter who you speak to in the team, they all speak highly and well of her. This stems in part from her desire to build relationships with each player as an individual as well as with the team as a whole. For Charlotte it’s important to build those personal relationships as she sees it bringing out the best in the individual players and believes that they will always perform better as a result. As well as this, when a player has issues, being able to help and resolve them is much quicker and more effective when there is relationship.
The thing that sets Charlotte apart for me is that overlaid on all of the above, she has very high standards (by her own admission) - and she expects without compromise the same of herself as of the team, but that she leads from the front. She is adamant that she won’t ask any of them to do something that she hasn’t done before or wouldn’t do herself.
Charlotte is a Captain among Captains, male or female, on the world stage. She has a steely focus on what needs doing, combined with very high standards that are balanced with an incredible ability to connect with every player as an individual. Add to this her mantra of ‘being yourself’ and enjoying playing the game, and this is what makes her such a talent, an interesting person to spend time with, a world-class cricketer and legendary Captain. Clare Connor, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Head of Women’s Cricket summed her up by saying that “she is a credit to women’s cricket globally, a superb role model for girls who aspire to play for their country”. You can’t really add more than that.