OnThe Front Foot: Nothing like a Dame, so T20 crown could see Edwards the first
Sunday 14 June 2009
How long before women's cricket gets its first Dame? The question arises after Charlotte Edwards, the splendid captain of England, was made an MBE in the Birthday Honours List. That may have to be upgraded sharpish if Edwards manages to lead her team to victory in the World Twenty20, to follow their World Cup triumph earlier this year, and at the age of 29 she might be an early favourite for the first gong which puts the letters before your name. Three of her predecessors have all been honoured. Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Karen Smithies and Clare Connor are all OBEs. Heyhoe-Flint has been around cricket for 50 years and if you asked the man in the street to name five English female cricketers she would still be one of them, having not played for almost 40 years. Last month Connor became the first woman to be appointed to the ICC's cricket committee and if she stays around the game she may well be the first Dame. But Edwards is in pole position because of the recent fetish for ennobling those still playing. The only cricketer to have been knighted while playing was Richard Hadlee, who appeared on the scorecard at Lord's in 1999 as Sir R J Hadlee. What fun it would be for Dame Charlotte to emulate that feat.
Broad can spook Aussies
The World Twenty20 has come up with many innovations. Some are more acceptable than others. Stuart Broad was told yesterday to abandon the ridiculous antic of pointing to his left as he approached the delivery stride to try to distract the batsman. Broad went through the routine in the 17th over against South Africa last Thursday (some good it did). The defence launched by England's coach, Andy Flower, that Shaun Pollock did something similar, did not make it right. Not that Broad is by any means alone in trying to find some way to redress the balance between ball and bat. Darren Gough (who else?) once stuck his tongue out at the batsman as he ran in, and against Australia at the Riverside on the 2005 tour he did a phantom impression in front of the all-rounder Shane Watson. This came after the Australians had been spooked by ghosts in the Lumley Castle hotel. Broad will have to think of some other idea to spook the 2009 Australians, and pace with steep bounce might be more helpful.
Hughes that on the cover?
As a guest on Radio Five Live's cricket show, On The Front Foot sat alongside the former Middlesex cricketers and now pundits, Ed Smith and Simon Hughes. It was fairly daunting considering Smith has written a book called 'What Sport Teaches Us About Life' and Hughes has just had one published called 'And God Created Cricket'. Profound or what? Only 'The Meaning of Cricket and Life' could compete as a title. Hughes' book (Doubleday, £20) is a characteristically jaunty romp through the history of the game but it lacks any photographs. The solitary illustration is on the cover by Paul Slater, a sequence of caricatures of famous players so difficult to discern that only God and their mums would be able to recognise them.
The Lord's prayer
The library at Lord's has found a natural use during the World Twenty20. It has been enlisted as a prayer room. For many who have used the place down the years, researching the history and the antecedents of the great game, it has always been thus.
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