There is a lot happening this year in women’s Cricket and in particular in England. We have already written about the Kia Superleauge and what that will bring to the sport but there is a lot more going on than that. England have just won the T20 series against Pakistan in England and just last week the first ever Sky Sport's Women's Cricket Week was launched. In partnership with the ECB, Sky worked throughout the week to promote the women's game to females of all ages. Along with live coverage of three England T20 games against Pakistan, there was constant coverage of women's cricket on Sky Sports, from a history of the game piece to Charlotte Edwards playing Tennis with Suzie Bates whilst talking cricket. The initiative saw thousands of girls and women across the country picking up a cricket bat and trying their hand at cricket, all of which is great for the game and the awareness of women’s sport. Head of Sky Cricket, Bryan Henderson commented on Sky’s initiative saying: "Women's Cricket Week is an extremely exciting initiative for Sky Cricket and for our schedule of women's sport on Sky. It demonstrates our commitment to showcasing and growing the women's game and should be a week to remember." We haven’t seen such great support from any broadcaster before and to see the women’s games televised at prime times and alongside the men’s games is a major step forward in growing the awareness of the game and women’s sport. So all in all, a fantastic year for Cricket so far!
Given all of the above we thought it would be good to catch up with one of the most successful players of the modern era and in our opinion one of the all-time best captains to talk about all things Cricket and the future. Charlotte Edwards is not new to the magazine having featured twice, including once as our “Outstanding Athlete”. Charlotte’s list of achievements are many, but here is a flavour: Charlotte is the first female cricketer to score 2,000 runs in T20 Internationals, the first player, either male or female, to score 2500 runs in T20 internationals. As captain of England she lead them out on more than 220 occasions, winning three Ashes series (2008, 2013 and 2014) and the World Cup/World Twenty20 double in 2009. As well as all of these records she was awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) as well as winning ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year – 2008 and was only the second woman to be Wisden Cricketer of the Year (2014).
Having recently retired from international Cricket Charlotte has taken on a commentating role with Sky TV as part of their desire to increase the profile of women’s sport and so we caught up with her ahead of the last T20 game against Pakistan.
Charlotte, how do you see that the last year has unfolded for women's cricket globally?
It's been another great year for the game. Big bash was a huge success, Kia Super league launched and the game is growing globally. All in all, a very good year for the game.
Do you see benefits in tour series such as Pakistan most recently for England, but also the game in general?
I think for England in a rebuilding phase it's an important tour and one the batters have got lots of confidence from.
Do you think T20 is good for Cricket or do you think it will dilute the essence of the game?
I think T20 cricket is great for the women's game, it attracts more people to watch both on tv and at the grounds.
Do you see test matches becoming a thing of the past?
I hope not but it looks that way. There isn't an appetite to play test cricket other than Australia and England.
The Kia super league this season looks very exciting with big names flying in to play. What is you take on this?
I can't wait to be involved. It's what women's cricket needed in this country and there is a real excitement from all players to be part of it.
Could the UK lead the world with a series like this given that only the Australians have anything similar?
I think the big bash was a huge success too and to have two competitions like this will only be good for the game.
Is it the right thing to do to bring international names into the league?
Absolutely the right thing. They bring so much to the competition and for our young players to learn from is so valuable.
You have a big role with Sky It also falls ahead of the first ever Sky commenting, how did this come about?
Just got a call asking if I'd like to be part of the series and I jumped at the chance.
What scares you most about commenting?
Swearing on camera!!!
Sky hosted the Sports Women's Cricket Week is this patronising to women to separate it from the men or is it needed to raise the profile?
It's needed to raise profile and is a great initiative which I am so excited to be involved in. It is great that Sky are taking the initiative to try to raise the profile of not just women's cricket but women's sport in general – it is why I like working with them.
How do you prepare for your commentary?
I did lots of preparation on the Pakistan players and knowing more about them and their structure.
The World Cup was a huge success although there is still huge disparity between the men's and women's game. Where do you see Women’s cricket being in a year from now?
I think we would like to see it keep growing at the rate it is. More media exposure and more NGB supporting their players.
You are part of the transitional generation that came after those that paid their own way for tours etc. and the new world of full time athletes. The next generation won't experience what you did but equally the world is opening more for them. Would you change your place in Cricket history if you could?
No way I've loved every minute of my career!
Charlotte’s impact on Cricket history is very clear and as she launches into her second career we look forward to her having the same impact in the media and raising the profile of Cricket and women’s sport around the world.
Sky Sports will continue to show live women's cricket in the build up to the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, where every ball will be shown live on Sky Sports.