If you had asked me just two weeks ago whether I’d now be writing this story, I’d have said you were mad; and the table below shows exactly why:
|Past 12 Months (ODI + T20)||Runs||Average|
In the past 12 months, which has included an Ashes and a T20 World Cup, Charlotte Edwards scored more ODI + T20 runs for England, at a higher average, than anyone else. Hence my instinct that she would remain a part of the team (and indeed would continue as captain) because her runs were just too important to let go.
Of course, this isn’t to deny that there were problems. I’m actually not convinced by the argument that the team “as a collective” was unfit, though certain players have perhaps arguably over-fixated on strength rather than conditioning recently. But it was undeniable that England had lost their edge; and Mark Robinson saw this too – concluding that, like a superhero movie franchise that had fallen flat under an ageing lead, what England needed was a “reboot”.
Robinson, however, clearly then faced a dilemma – he wanted to “reboot” the team under new leadership; but he realised that Edwards’ towering presence in the dressing room meant that it would have been very tough for any successor to step out of her shadow had she continued as a player.
So the coach did what he is, after all, paid the big bucks to do – he made the call of his life, and signed the skipper’s execution papers, wagering that what it cost him in gravitas and experience, he’d get back in vigour and renewed vision.
It is a huge gamble.
The World Cup is right around the corner – not just “any” World Cup, but one hosted at home in England – and England have sacked their iconic captain and most reliable player.
Robinson now has just 12 months to build a new team around a new captain.
If he succeeds… if Heather Knight (or Sarah Taylor… or even Sophie Luff?) lifts that trophy at Lords next July… it will be a triumph unmatched in the history of the women’s game.
But if he fails, there can be no hiding place – we all know where the buck stops now.