In retrospect, it was Canterbury that was the beginning of the end: a top-order batting collapse led to a convincing Ashes defeat; and within a year, both coach and captain were gone.
The year was 2015, and England were led by coach Paul Shaw and captain Charlotte Edwards – two figures from the amateur era, struggling to keep-pace with Australia in an increasingly professionalised game.
Four years later – another coach; another captain; another Ashes – but the same old city of Canterbury… and the same old problem!
England had hoped that Australia’s thumping victory in last year’s World Twenty20 final was a one-off; but after 3 shell-shocking ODI defeats in the space of a week, culminating in yesterday’s humiliation at Canterbury, it is apparent that it was no aberration.
England were abject.
It started at the toss, which was perhaps a bad one to win, given that Meg Lanning said she’d have bowled too; but in retrospect it is difficult to justify putting Australia in.
With Katherine Brunt out and Sarah Taylor back, England had chosen to make a straight swap, in effect replacing a strike bowler with a batsman, in a situation where they needed to take wickets in order to seize the game by the scruff.
Brunt’s absence, and Heather Knight’s reluctance to bowl herself, meant that Nat Sciver had to bowl almost a full quota of overs, and while they did eventually buy the wickets of Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning, they came at some cost – Sciver going at well over 6 an over, where Brunt had gone at under 4 in the first two ODIs, as the Aussies took command.
It’s true that Australia didn’t reach the 300-plus total which at one point looked on the cards; but in reality it always felt like 250 could well have been enough anyway, so 269 was 20 better than par… and ultimately 194 better than they actually needed.
Because of course this was Canterbury – where England Ashes collapses seem to come around like pilgrims – every one with a tale to tell!
This time that tale belonged to Ellyse Perry, whose 7-22 were the best figures ever returned by an Australian in a Women’s ODI. With her second Player of the Match performance of the series, Perry ripped England’s top order to pieces, punishing equally lose strokes across the line (Jones and Beaumont) and lazy prods outside off stump (Knight and Taylor) – and from 18-5, with Schutt having also sent Nat Sciver home for a duck, there was no way back from there.
So what’s answer? Force out the coach? Again? Fire the captain? Again?
No, because it won’t make a devil of a difference – it isn’t the coach or the captain – it is that Australian women’s cricket is quite simply operating on a different level right now. With the WBBL going from strength to strength, and professional contracts for an entire cohort of domestic players in the WNCL, the Southern Stars are just the tip of a cricketing iceberg; and while England can cruise past the West Indies as they did this summer, or South Africa and New Zealand as they did the last, when it comes to the Australian iceberg… they are cruising aboard the Titanic!
Oh dear, what a poor performance! Syd hits the nail right on the head…and not across the line as too many England players did yesterday. Aussies are way, way ahead of our set up. During the week at Loughborough the England Academy played the Aussie A team. The mentality of the Aussie team mirrored the attitude of their senior side, they managed to get the England side in their grip and never let it go. Tayla Vlaeminck (a new name to me) was bowling in excess of 70 mph with great desire alongside similarly determined team mates. Looking at the “Academy” side they seemed a mish mash of senior squad players “getting a run out”, a few faces/ names I have not seen or heard of in the set up before (apologies to my ignorance maybe) . The approach from both sides was hugely contrasted, the Aussies confident, deploying their skills well, enjoying their game and performance, having fun!! The England players looked disjointed, unsure of their roles, looking a bit apprehensive (in case they failed maybe?) and no smiles on faces. The question arose of how players get opportunities in these games when they are not (apparently) in the original selected Academy group? Obviously, availability, injury and the like may affect this. However, this smacks of my opening comments, the England set up is flawed. Ebony Rainford Brent has identified a few further reasons why the set up needs shaking up, maybe not the personnel. However, more performances like yesterday will demand new faces to be included.
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There was a huge window of opportunity after 2017 final to begin a resuregence of women’s cricket in England (and Wales) instead the ECB chose to sit on their hands when even a small investment at grassroos would have reaped huge dividends, instead the cycle will start in 2020 with a big step forward for a group of players what lies behind them for the next generation is less certain.
I reiterate a pre-teenage girl can now choose from football, hockey, rugby and netball as a far more impressive and stable career opportunities than cricket provides.
I’m a fan of women’s cricket in England but the current performances do little to inspire unless your role model is Australian.
” …it isn’t the coach or the captain – it is that Australian women’s cricket is quite simply operating on a different level right now”
You state that like it’s a fact, and although it might be a truth well-known to closer followers of the women’s game, the message might be lost on the wider cricketing public.
A worse domestic structure for England than Australia has almost always been thus, and yet 75 all out is not only reflective of that, but also of a team in turmoil that is not thinking clearly and has not been well prepared by their coaches.
Although the domestic problem might be worse now than ever before, is it really 200 runs worse? The players haven’t changed much. If it was Vlaeminck who’d come in and done that, you’d have more of a point. Perry has played against England many times before and not done anything like that.
So I don’t think the feeling towards the management or captain will be so understanding. Yesterday represented a shift in attitude from many fans away from supportive to aggressive, even abusive according to some reports, and certainly accusatory. It’s not good, however you choose to slice it.
An inquisition is sure to follow and we’ll see, but I think heads may roll. A sad day indeed…
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Salient points, James, about a change in attitudes.
A lot of (admittedly fairly ignorant) critical comments via the various social media yesterday.
Usually they are easy to dismiss as knee-jerk over-reaction, or often trolling, and the fact is that a narrow defeat makes little impact on the wider sporting/cricketing public, whilst those of us who support the game long term can accept a little bit of rough and smooth as part of the pattern of sport.
But when a team performs this badly then it gets noticed, and genuine questions start being asked. It took England about eight years to develop from that double World Cup winning team of 2009 that first put women’s cricket into some kind of spotlight, into a professional set-up capable of winning another such World Cup on home soil. With hiccups along the way (the 2014 India Test & 2015 Ashes most notably), that was a period of fairly steady improvement and growth/development.
The danger is that one poor series here is far more noticeable, and can make far more impact, than those eight generally good years.
The ECB has been slow to map out its not-so-secret vision for next season and the future – perhaps for good reasons (if we knew what they were, we’d be able to judge whether that was the case or not!). Maybe now, in the middle of the series, is not the time to hastily blurt out whatever the ‘blueprint’ is, but if this continues then they will need to show their hand pretty quickly once it’s ended.
Well I’d say that performance has scuppered any ideas the ECB had, or aspirations MR had of moving into the runners for the England men’s job
The England Womens 2015 Ashes Averages–all formats included taken from David Tossells Book,The Girls of Summer:
Matches Innings N/Outs Runs Average
L.S.Greenway 7 7 1 192 32.00
K.H.Brunt 7 8 3 154 30.80
N.R.Sciver 7 8 1 175 25.00
G.A.Elwiss 5 5 1 99 24.75
C.M.Edwards 7 8 – 159 19.87
S.J.Taylor 7 8 – 135 16.87
H.C.Knight 7 7 1 112 16.00
A.E.Jones 2 2 – 15 7.50
L,Winfield 4 5 – 22 4.40
D.N.Wyatt 3 2 7 7 3.50
This shows the importance of having quality left handed bats in your side.Englands only left handed bat not only the leading run scorer but top of the batting averages.In the current series Australia have 4 left handed bats, whilst England dont have any.Without a doubt it makes a massive difference to bowlers lines and lengths as well as continual field changing positions.
We have no left-handers, full stop. The cupboard is bare. Greenway apart, the only one mentioned in dispatches in recent years is Eve Jones of Lancashire, and at 26 one suspects her chance has been and gone (rightly or wrongly). Historically, Australia has always produced far more left-handers than we have – in both men’s and women’s cricket. Why that should be is a very interesting question.
Aylish Cranstone too, but her chance has probably also been and gone, sadly – very smart cricketer.
Spot on Clive!
We can comment all we like on the fact that England has only 22 full-time women’s pros while Australia has closer to 100. However, that’s only a partial answer, as all of yesterday’s team are full-time and yet we still had major technical deficiencies that were apparent for almost all of the wickets (I agree Taylor got a jaffa). Really we should have seen this coming and I guess we were inevitably going to be skittled the next time Beaumont failed. Also a technical point, which wasn’t apparent from just watching the highlights – are umpires in women’s internationals required to give a ‘soft signal’ before asking for a TV replay when there is a low catch?
They are supposed to give a soft signal, yes.
I am not sure this idea that all state cricketers in Aus are full-time professionals is correct. I know a number hold down full time jobs, Jonassen is a Lawyer and Redmayne, in the A squad, is a Doctor. In any case men’s cricket in Aus was mostly played by part timers up to the Packer era and since then have survived OK with a third the number of professionals as England. So professional numbers is not really the issue.
What seems to be the issue is the intensity that state and club games are played at compared to England. It can get a bit competitive and aggressive, but isn’t that the way the game should be played and shouldn’t administrators facilitate such competitions.
Another issue raised is the support Australian female cricketers receive. This support is not made to make them world beaters but mostly to attract quality young athletes within Australia, There are now seven team sports with national leagues in Australia that young girls can aspire to play, that are offering professional pathways. Basketball, Cricket, Netball, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Soccer and Australian Football. Talented young girls can follow pathways that will see them have careers offering good pay in any of these sports. Netball seems to be the most advanced with athletes there capable of earning around $200k a season.
Cricket has to survive in this highly competitive market, which may mean other countries may struggle if they cant match this support and the international game may suffer.
Thanks for this comment – there is obviously some nuance to the “full-time pros” thing which we have tended to gloss over, and you are right to pick us all up on it.
It was indeed depressing watching the slaughter yesterday, but as I have said (as nauseam) before, 2017 was luck. England beat an amateur team, chosen through a corrupt system, so their own failings were shrouded for a while.
It may seem odd to some, but the English system is corrupt as well – though you may take umbrage with that word and replace with flawed….
1. Good point made earlier on the alternatives for girls now – Netball on SKY, football, tennis etc. Cricket is seen as a poor alternative
2. Coaches up to U17 level are inept, poorly qualified, pick their favourites and have no intention of losing their fiefdom. having witnessed this at close quarters, I can see why many talented girls give up the game. The rewards are there – England women cricketers are the highest paid in the world (10X what the top Indians are paid for example), but the path to glory is so shrouded in mystery that few can be bothered.
3. Women County cricket is a joke – so who is testing the current England squad? No one – they don’t even play, how arrogant is that?
I could go on….having supported women and girls cricket, both as a coach and a parent, I have lost interest in trying to improve the system. Good luck to those that still are!
“England women cricketers are the highest paid in the world (10X what the top Indians are paid for example)”
Just on this point, this isn’t the case any more – the top handful Indians all earn more (by PPP – the fairest measure) than any of the England players; and far, far more when you factor in things like Smriti’s Nivea contract.
England beat every team in the tournament in 2017, not just “an amateur team” in a one-off game as you seem to imply. That included holding their nerve in a tight finish against Australia. You make some interesting points in your comment, but this isn’t one of them.
“2017 was luck. England beat an amateur team”.
Priceless. That same amateur team beat Australia in the semis, not just of the 2017 WWC but the 2018 WT20 as well! Can’t think why you’d try to undermine England’s (or India’s) achievements (sigh).
The dreaded word ‘embarrassment’; never to be used to describe an amateur performance and the very last word professional players want to hear – but it is applicable to the 3rd ODI. However crap, down or depressed us observers and supporters feel about it, the players must feel even worse because it’s their jobs, it’s their livelihoods.
It may well very much look like Australia are No1 in the world and daylight is No2 but the time to make that assessment is at the end of the Ashes. We had a mountain to climb at the start of the Ashes and we’ve just spent the last 3 matches getting lost in the fog but the summit is still there; it is still possible (however unlikely) to reach it and the only way forward is to stay calm, make rational decisions, work out a plan (even if its plan Z) and take the next step.
I like this attitude, Clanger! There’s no point trying to dress yesterday up, but there’s no point the players sinking into a pit of despair either. The approach has to be positive, for what alternative is there?
This always comes to mind when captains (Knight, in this instance) are criticised for “bland” post match interviews. What exactly are they supposed to say in these circumstances? There is another match next week, and others after that. Yes, admit – as she did – that it wasn’t good enough, but there is nothing to be gained by over-the-top public hand-wringing and recriminations.
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They are not bad players, “they don’t become bad players overnight….” blah blah.
They were not good yesterday though.
And they now have a good test, literally, to show everyone their skills, adaptability and game management later this week.
I hope they can put on a good show. MR must instil confidence, controlled aggression, desire and show they enjoy the competition!
Can he do that……?
I have my doubts on his ability to carry that out.
I would say MR still has credit in the bank after 2017, and his work with Beaumont, Wyatt, Jones and others over the past 2/3 years. That credit is not infinite, however, and he undoubtedly faces his toughest challenge yet since taking the job on.
He made difficult decisions in 2016, and whilst mid-series is probably not the right time for “difficult decisions”, it IS time to show similar leadership to pick his players up off the floor.
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As fans I feel we can start the Inquisition now rather than wait for the inevitable conclusion to the series. I say inquisition, rather than “root and branch review” because that word, with all its medieval connotations, is entirely justified.
Frankly, what the *&%$ was that from England yesterday?
It wasn’t a performance that I recognise from my few years following the team, and not one that anyone can claim to be anywhere near acceptable in any shape or form whatsoever.
Australia are doing to England what England did to West Indies, but much, much worse. Australia should have scored 300-plus, and I thought it was quite poor from them not to do just that. It didn’t matter, though.
I was surprised to hear Knight saying that the bowling performance was satisfactory. Even then I saw things I’d never expect to see. The opening overs were OK then the bowling turned lamentable for a long while. Being a bolwer down really showed. Some truly dreadful sloppy fielding, especially near the start, and supposedly good fielders Jones and even Wyatt meekly ushering the ball to the boundary instead of diving to stop it. They’re better than that. Or are they? Who knows, anymore.
This just set up the scene for the whole match. Extra batsman made the situation worse not better, What we saw was a frankly shameful England team giving up, throwing in the towel before round 2.
Gone was the fight of the previous Ashes, gone the tremendous spirit of the World Cup and gone the sterling effort of the World T20. What was left was the insipid display of totally un-confident and clueless players, who were clearly mentally shot, and seriously under-prepared. The result was chipping the ball straight up or taking guard on off stump then being surprised when given out trying to play across the line. Player after player marching on then straight off again. It was embarrassing and the sort of thing that loses the fragile public confidence and approval which the team have rightly enjoyed over the past few years. The nasty comments and questions will come thick and fast from a dissatisfied public keen to jump on the team’s back.
I turned off in disgust after we were 6 down, and I didn’t think I’d ever do that. Not even looked at highlights or scorecard, can’t bear it. But fan’s reactions tend to mirror the team’s performance – if they’ve given up, people will give up on them.
I don’t blame just the players. The current coaching staff have not done their job and mentally prepared the players for this series, that much is abundantly obvious. It’s a huge failure from them too and they’ve been resting on their laurels. The training and preparation methods are not working and need to be changed, now. Not sure what Robinson has been doing lately.
The controlling, micro-managing nature of the Loughborough regime doesn’t escape criticism either. The players need to be given more autonomy to work on their own games, suggest their own improvements and speak to the media how they see fit. They also need to be allowed to play for themselves and not the team, if that helps them individually. Any consequences from that can be worked out afterwards but it’s important that they are not forced into roles they don’t feel natural in.
Maybe I’m not thinking straight, but that’s what his type of performance does to me. I’m as done with this Ashes series as England are I think.
OK, rant over. Sorry.
Have just watched the somewhat ironically called ‘Highlights’.
Let’s start with the obvious, that was absolutely abysmal. No professional side should be bowled out for 75 on a decent wicket. As others have said, poor technique from the entire top 7 except Sarah Taylor. I have to ask why? Is it a coaching issue? I think the England batters aren’t used to playing against bowlers of the quality of Schutt and Perry regularly enough. A case in point is Amy Jones. Against the West Indies, she looked unstoppable but in this series she has got out cheaply playing poor shots, maybe she and the rest of the England batters need to adjust their mindset.
There seem to be mental issues as well. Heather Knight choosing to bowl screams a lack of confidence in the batting and her dismissal is particular was of a player who is not thinking clearly.
As I’ve said before, I can only see this getting worse in the short and medium term and unless something is done, the long term too. Dan Norcross said the other day that Australia have five times the amout of professional players as England. I assume they have better access to coaching and facilities too. I read an interview with Freya Davies on Cricinfo about how she’d moved back in with her parents and turned down a career in law to pursue cricket. To me, that shows the weakness in the English system, Davies’ commitment is admarable but if you’re a talented 18 year old cricketer, you may not have that option and you may be lost to the game.
In a way, maybe a shellacking will wake the ECB up. Like others, I’m not sure what they’ve done since 2017 seeinngly failed to capitalise on the world cup win (I also wonder whether Colin Graves and Tom Harrison actually like cricket but that’s another debate!). I’m not holding out much hope seeing as they seemed to have decided the hundred is the way forward putting all their money in that which strikes me as the equivilent of remortgaging your house, going to Vegas and putting it all on black!
It’s also a worry for the long term health of the women’s game. One team dominating a sport rarely leads to good viewing (The All Blacks in Rugby Union is perhaps an exception). Australia seem well ahead of England who are playing catch up. As for the rest, New Zealand are going backwards, South Africa and West Indies can barely afford to keep hold of their male players before considering the women and Sri Lanka and Pakistan are still a way behind. India could potentially dominate but the BCCI seem strangely apathetic to the women’s team and it will be a while before they put in any kind of meaningful structure.
Lastly, the given the success of Women’s World Cup and the Big Bash, put some games on free to air!
Not sure I buy into blaming structures here, these sides have been closely matched in the past, it seems more that England have frozen against opposition far superior to that that they usually play against.
Two interesting points coming out of this series, aside from the obvious fact that the England batters have been found wanting under pressure both technically and mentally. But then so were the Australians in game 1 especially.
The two things for me are the poor fitness of the England side, as highlighted in the Cricket Wales blog recently. Shrubsole is clearly overweight and it is affecting her ability but this seems to go unquestioned. Equally several of the England girls are not mobile enough to save boundaries in the deep or singles in the ring. Odd when there is so little cricket and so much time at Loughborough that this is accepted by management.
Secondly the umpiring has been woeful. Perhaps the fact male umpires are not accustomed to the nuances of the slower pace or different swing movement in the women’s game but equally just some awful decisions.
Wilson LBW in first game, dubious non stumping of Perry in game 2, LBW of Bolton in game 3 and non LBW of Healy early on in game 3, all potentially game changing moments and not scrutinised enough
James P and Paul O quite justified in your analysis of worrying times……we are in them now! The team suffering from over training, suffering from not being allowed to play a full part for their counties during 50 over games or T20s. The mantra of train and rest within the confines of the selected group of fortunates…….recipe for disaster, as it has proved. What must the newbies such as Dunkley, Bryony Smith, Linsey Smith and the like be feeling now? Did Mr Robinson give any interviews after the Sunday debacle? He has his work to do now, I still hope the team can show their abilities, their fighting spirit and confidence in playing and enjoying this mad sport of cricket.
Time for a new Team Manager Mark Dekker for instance ex-Test player and successful with Kent at first attempt, need to follow his blueprint for success.
Interestingly the week before in the Mens First Division Match at Canterbury,both Kent and Warwickshire scored 580 runs in each innings over 4 days for a drawn game,so the England Womens Team cannot blame the wicket!
The elite women should be playing men’s league cricket on a regular basis to toughen them up. Most decent men’s 2nd XL would beat England comfortably as women’s cricket is too soft. Most County under 17 boys team would prove difficult to beat for them.
This is debatable. How do you know they should be beating under-whatevers, and who frankly cares? Sounds like you just want to bash the game in general. Level of junior male cricket played against is selected to balance challenge with success, no use in them getting defeated all the time as it would deflate confidence. This is only part of the solution and not all of it, as you would have us believe.
For a few players this Ashes series was always going to be a farewell home performance or they had thoughts of ensuring selection for the winter swansong.
MR is now playing selection poker does he stick with this squad for the rest of the series, winter tri-nation and T20 world cup or twist and give some youth an early examination.
History suggests the former and then I worry about the potential damage a string of poor performances could have just as we enter a brave new domestic world in 2020.
Whatever the ECB have planned will take time to bed in and start the process of upping the women’s game to WBBL levels.
Here in NZ Sky have been showing these games overnight, then screening brief highlights the following day. I echo the commenter above who said Australia should have reached 300 after the start they had – Rachael Haynes is a fine opener but I’m not sure she’s suited to a middle-order role in ODIs, unless as a “limit the damage”-type player after a poor start, as she tends to use up a lot of deliveries when the field is spread.
But that mattered little after England’s performance! Based on the highlights, Ellyse Perry bowled well, but I think I’ve seen her bowl better: with the exception of Sarah Taylor’s wicket, England’s players gave their wickets away to her. They played as if they had no expectation of being able to build a team innings that would challenge Australia’s. I know little about potential replacement players, but based on what I saw of her in the T20 World Cup, I was very surprised Sophia Dunkley isn’t playing in this series.
Finally, I really enjoyed Raf Nicholson’s contribution to The Guardian’s “The Spin” podcast about this match – a pleasure to hear!
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From my experience Mr Robinson unfortunately only likes to be interviewed when all is going well. It’s the players mindset that is wrong they appear to be focusing on the final outcome instead of the immediate task in hand, rebuilding the innings. They fold like a pack of cards on a windy day when put under pressure, schoolboy stuff that should have been resolved sometime ago. They are now all professionals so no more amateur excuses, those days are gone. It’s their job now, if I screw up at work I join the unemployment line. How many chances do you give certain players when they keep repeating same mistakes. No mental toughness when up against it. How many players are lost in the system and walk away because they are not someone’s favourite or daughter that probably have stickability at the crease, rather than gung ho inconsistent batswingers that come off once in a while. Just saying…….the problems are routed deeper!
“They are now all professionals so no more amateur excuses, those days are gone. It’s their job now, if I screw up at work I join the unemployment line”.
You assume equally-skilled ready replacements are available. It’s an analogy that doesn’t exactly represent reality. Maybe more in men’s cricket. But to some extent, these are the best players available and others would do worse, overall. Having said that, I do agree that some of the younger challengers would have made a better effort at Canterbury. It’s about getting the balance right. Maybe some players will go after this series, and that may be due by the time it comes around, if not already. These tough moments like Sunday always result in internal turmoil and change, that hopefully brings about an improvement in the team.
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I agree with Geoffrey the problems are routed deeper. CAG cricket it seems is about big hitting batters to dominate most games. Most times they open batting and bowling and captain. It’s about winning when you report back to county towers
Dear James P my point is you need match practice against tougher opposition rather than against each other. There are opportunities to play against County under age boys or even club male cricketers. They will face something different it will improve them, the result doesn’t matter. To get better you need to push yourselves in every aspect otherwise it’s soft cricket. Take Tammy B she played a lot of male cricket and she had to adapt becoming a better player. She found a way to increase her power to match the men. You must of noticed her pick up and backswing which has a twirl to generate more bat speed. She also advances down the track putting full weight through her shots. This is cricket evolution so to speak. It also helped no longer being in the shadow of former captain allowing full value for her shots when running. I would encourage every female cricketer to play men’s cricket it’s a resource open to all and is not being utilised. Just saying you need to learn your trade especially now you are considered professionals. It’s like sparring against bigger opponents as a boxer to better prepare yourself.
OK, I agree about playing amongst men on an individual basis, as part of a club side for example, and many of the current England team have done that before or still do it. That’s one thing. The other, and where the issue arises, comes from over-analysing men against women games which is what you originally started talking about “2nd XI / Under-17s” . These are OK for occasional or one-off challenge or “calibration” purposes to see where a side are, but it’s easy for the haters to use results to dismiss the women’s game. It’s important, in my view, that not much rests on these matches and they don’t become a scheduled regular thing played at big grounds.
Just a note on Australian professionalism. It’s semi pro. It’s only the CA contracted players that are full time professional, along with the NSW team. All the other WNCL and WBBL players are semi-pro (paid full time during season only)
As for England, their side is professional just like Aus. They have some soul searching to do around the long format, but I expect the T20 to be close.
As an Aussie fan, I have a different perspective from that of most of the posters above.
I don’t think the outcome of the 3rd ODI indicates that there’s a huge crisis in England women’s cricket. The relatively close results of the first two ODIs are more in line with the true position.
The real reason England lost the 3rd ODI is that the whole team was defeated by the freakish talents of just one player, namely Ellyse Perry. If you were to take her out of the equation, the contest would have been far more even. Similar comments apply to the 2017 test match in Sydney, which I attended.
Australian media outlets reporting on the 3rd ODI have recognised that fact. Instead of saying ‘England was woeful’, the reports have been commenting ‘Perry is arguably our best ever female all rounder, perhaps even our best ever all rounder of either sex’ – ie better than Keith Miller, Richie Benaud, etc.
When you’re playing against a team with a player like that, you’re always going to be an underdog, no matter how good you are. And even though the England players may not have batted well when Perry was bowling, the batting styles of their batters would have reflected their knowledge of how good a bowler she is.
I also have a couple of other points, relating to the WBBL.
First, an important strength of the WBBL is that it has so many foreign players – as many as three in each of the eight teams. A large portion of those foreign players are England players, and in fact almost all of the England players who played in the 3rd ODI have played in the WBBL (as has Brunt). So the WBBL probably does not give the Australian players quite as much of an advantage as some of the above posters have been hinting.
Secondly, some of the posts above suggest that England won the World Cup in 2017 by beating an amateur team (India) but that the amateur team had knocked out Australia in a semi final.
The true position is Australia was knocked out by a freakish performance by another great player, Harmanpreet Kaur, who then didn’t fire in the final. It’s no coincidence that both Kaur and Australia’s top scorer in the semi final, Alex Blackwell, had been team mates in the Sydney Thunder WBBL team only a few months earlier.
Finally, if anything needs to be done to develop women’s cricket in England (and worldwide), the authorities need to organise more matches, and especially test matches.
It’s simply not good enough to have only one test match every second year. There should be at least two every year, involving not only England and Australia, but also (at least) India and New Zealand. In that regard, I understand that the India board wanted the last India tour of Australia to include a test, but that the Australians said “no”. As anyone who, like me, attended the 2017 test would know, that was definitely the wrong decision.
I think way the press approached it on our different sides of the world is just the way it works – if your Australian, the Australians played well; if you are English, the English played badly – and the reality is probably, dare I say, an element of both?
It is a good point that most of the England batsmen have played WBBL at some point – but very few of them have played it every year, and that is where the advantage is, maybe? Building experience upon experience?
As for Tests… personally I’d like the ICC to mandate the ICC Championship series *HAVE* to be multi-format. But the ICC aren’t interested – women’s Tests “don’t hold a place in people’s hearts” apparently.
How would a neutral report on the 3rd ODI match – England woeful, or Perry freakishly good? The latter I’m sure. What about the recent men’s World Cup semi final between India and New Zealand – India woeful and in crisis or NZ freakishly good? Again, the latter I’m sure.
It’s true that most of the England women players haven’t played more than two seasons in the WBBL. But they also play in the Kia T20 competition (alongside some of Australia’s best players) and some of them in the WNCL as well.
As for tests, cricket authorities have always underestimated the long pent up demand from spectators and TV audiences for women’s cricket. Properly promoted, women’s cricket can be just as successful as women’s tennis and soccer. But not if the ICC keeps thinking that nobody cares about women’s test cricket.
The Sydney test in 2017 was one of the most enjoyable sporting contests I’ve ever experienced. Fortunately some of the players, eg, Perry, Suzie Bates, are becoming more and more vocal about wanting to have more tests. So should the contributors to this website.
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