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Australian Women's Test Cricket Captains

Australian Cricket Tours - Lisa Busst Playing Cricket In Front Of The Taj Mahal On Our Australia Test Cricket Tour To India

 

The Australian Women's National Cricket Team (formerly Southern Stars) represent Australia across all three formats of international cricket. They played their first test match way back in 1934-35 against England, in England and with whom they compete biennially for the Women’s Ashes. Test Cricket rivalry in the women’s game with trans-Tasman foe New Zealand, started in 1947-48. It wasn’t until 1975-76 that Australia had their third opponent at the highest level when touring the West Indies, and one year later, India toured Australia for one test. 

Surprisingly, they’re the only nations the Australian Women’s National Cricket Team has played against in Test Cricket, despite South AfricaPakistan, and Sri Lanka (rarely) competing at the top level in the women’s game. Even more surprising is that after 87 years, the Australian Women's National Cricket Team has only played 74 Test Matches.

When you look at the statistics of the modern game, with 50 overs and Twenty20 being the dominant format, there is indeed little room for Test Cricket. Perhaps this is more the ‘marketing department’ appealing to the wider audience with the shorter game to attract more young women and girls to the game. Nonetheless, by virtue of the number of national women’s cricket teams playing, Australian Women's National Test Cricket Team should have played more than just 43 Tests in the last 43 years. 

Maybe the marketing (or finance!) department has a say in that too, if you look at the team’s statistical record. From 74 Test Matches, Australia has only won 20, yet lost only 10. Losing only 13.5% of Tests compared with the men’s national cricket team losing 25.4% of their 834 Tests is one for the women!

Boringly, 44 out of the 74 Tests played by Australian Women's National Test Cricket Team were drawn. A 59.4% blot on their escutcheon! The likelihood of a draw is hardly persuasion for the bean counters to put the ladies on the field, albeit for just 4-days, compared with 5-day Tests played by men.

Women however play 100 overs in a day, compared with the men that bowl 90 overs in one day (or as few as they care to get away with) so running out of time should not be a factor in why so many Tests are drawn, albeit with 55 overs less to play with. Indeed, weather wouldn’t effect the women’s game more than the men’s to the point that it consistently reduces play to an unwinnable timeframe.

Is there an underlying reason for the disparity of results-ratio? Do both sides simply lack the ability to bowl each other out; the primary objective in Test Cricket? No matter how many runs you get, you won’t win without collecting 20 opposition scalps.

Looking at the results of the last 43 Tests, 23 were drawn, including what could only have been a painful Australian Test Cricket Tour to India in 1983-84. 4-drawn tests skippered by Jill Kennare in her only foray in charge of a 12 Test, 6-years career. Although Jill did not lose a test as skipper, she is only one of 7 captains of the Australian Women’s National Cricket Team to have played 10 Tests or more.

With only 43 matches played in the last 43 years, naturally the numbers against each captain’s name do not stack up with any great fanfare, more so for the rest when Lynette Larsen and Belinda Clark captained 10 Tests each. You can’t however blight a captain who only plays a handful of Tests. Most women cricketers would relish the opportunity for more!

With the rise in popularity, professionalism, and market value of women’s cricket across the board, and the hope that they play more Test Cricket than they currently do, these are the last 10 women who held the highest honour of captaining the Australian Women's National Test Cricket Team.

Captain #10 - Sharon Tredrea

Sharon played 10 Test Matches for Australia from March 1975 to Dec 1984 and steered the ship 3-times against New Zealand in 1978-79 before Jill Kennare took the team to India for ‘that’ series. She re-took the top-spot during the Australian Ashes Series in the Australian summer of 1984-85 before a test-career ending Achilles' heel injury in the first test at Perth. Considered the world’s fastest bowler in 1983, Sharon overcame injury to gain selection for the women’s ODI team for which she earned 31 caps between 1973 and 1988. Inducted into Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in January 2020, Sharon’s contribution to the game is lauded by the best player of the Victorian Women’s Cricket Team receiving the Sharon Tredrea Award. In 10 Tests, she scored 363 runs at 31.45 with a highest score of 63. With the ball, she took 30 wickets at 26 with best figures of 4/22.

Captain #11 - Jill Kennare

Jill made her Test Cricket Debut against New Zealand in 1979 in a 12 Test career that ended after the 1985 Ashes Series in Australia in which Sharon Tredrea was injured. A right-handed bat, if you didn’t get her out early, she went on to score big. Jill’s career yielded 702 runs with 3 hundreds and 2 fifties. Her highest score of 131 was part of a record 3rd wicket partnership of 176 runs with Denise Emerson in 1985. That same year, Jill hit the winning runs of the women’s Ashes Series against England to give Australia their first Ashes Series win since 1949.

Captain #12 - Raelee Thompson

Raelee captained Australia 4 times, replacing Sharon Tredrea, after she wrecked her Achilles’ in Perth, to become the 12th Captain of the Australian Women's National Test Cricket Team. Raelee a record 16 Test matches, the most for any captain, and at the time more than any other player. Raelee is 2nd on the list of Tests played behind Christina Matthews who played 20 Test from 1984-1995. A righthanded bat, she only scored 162 runs in 16 tests but was no doubt a feared bowler who took 57 wickets at just 18.

Captain #13 - Lynette Larsen

Lyn is equal most experienced captain of the Australian Women's National Cricket Team taking charge 10 times in a 15-test career, across 4 series, behind Belinda Clark who skippered 6 series. Lyn made her debut against India in India and was perhaps a reason the 4-Test series was drawn. A right-handed bat, though only scoring 410 runs in her career Lyn was only dismissed 10 times. An all-rounder, she fared better with the ball taking 27 wickets at 18, conceding only 1.5 runs per over. Lyn was inducted into the Australian Sport Hall of Fame in 1999, the New South Wales Cricket Hall of Fame in 2010 and in 2013 became the first female cricketer appointed to the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust.

Captain #14 - Belinda Clark

Belinda is perhaps the most well-known Australian Female Cricketer for the vast swathe of records achieved across her 14-year career in both Tests and Women’s One Day Internationals, in which 11 of those she captained the Australian Women's National Cricket Team. From her debut in Jan 1991 until Aug 2005, Belinda carted a batting average of 46 that included 2 hundreds and 6 fifties in an agg. of 919 runs. More records would have been achieved had Belinda played more than just 15 Tests in a stellar career for her sport. Like Lyn before her, Belinda captained Australia for 10 Tests in 6 series, but with just 3 wins. Though only one loss, there were 6 draws. Following her retirement in 2005, Australia has had 5 different Test Cricket Captains.

Captain #15 - Karen Rolton

Karen made her debut against in New Zealand in 1995 and like most other women cricketers, played on average just one test per year, ending her career in 2009 after just 14 Tests. Like Belinda Clark, she would have achieved far more than she did in her impressive, limited career, that includes 209 not out against England in 2001, a world record at the time. Karen relished her time with the bat, retiring with an average of 55.66. 2 centuries and 5 fifties helped her become the only Australian women’s cricketer to score more than 1000 test runs during her career in which she captained the  on two occasions, both in Australia, defeating India in 2005-06, and losing to England in 2007-08.

Captain #16 - Jodie Fields

Jodie debuted as Test Cap 150 for Australia in Feb 2006 and played her last test in Jan 2014. Incredibly, she only played 4 Test matches in that time, largely because the Australian Women's National Cricket Team only played 6 Test Matches, which is an indictment on the women’s game, but I digress. Jodie captained 3 of her 4 Tests, and all against England. Like many of her predecessors, most of her Tests were drawn, with one loss. She played at the highest level of her abilities, smacking 331 runs including a 139 and one fifty, at an average of 66. Limited Test Matches created better opportunity to develop her limited overs career in which she took the field 257 times, amassing more than 4500 runs. In 2014 she launched "The Jodie Fields Young Cricketer Development Scholarship".

Captain #17 - Alex Blackwell

Alex is the 142nd woman to play Test Cricket for the Australian Women's National Cricket Team making her debut in Feb 2003 against England. She played 12 Tests in an unremarkable 14-year career as a specialist bat, from which she only hit 444 runs at 22 with a high score of just 74. The highest accolade she did achieve of course was the captaincy, albeit for just one test between the tenure of Jodie Fields, against England in Australia during the summer of 2010-11. Though only one test, it was a victory giving Alex a 100% strike rate! Only Margaret Jennings before her in 1976-77 has the same, with one win from one. Performing with mediocrity at Test level, it was the short game where Alex excelled, playing 350 games scoring almost 8500 runs.

Captain #18 - Meg Lanning

Meg is the current Australian Women's National Test Cricket Team Captain taking the reins from Jodie Fields in 2015. Like most other women in the game with limited opportunities, Meg has only played 4 Tests in her career that is just 6 years long. Making her Test Cricket debut in 2013, it was her short-game career that put her on the path of superstardom, debuting for Australia in 2011. Meg holds the world record for the most centuries in Women’s One Day Internationals and was the first Australian to score 2000 runs in T20 Intls. In her short Test career, Meg has hit 185 runs at 23 with a top score of 57. As captain of both Victoria and Melbourne Stars, her ability to lead teams is sure to continue on the test arena, where she has only lead two campaigns with one win and one draw.

Captain #19 - Rachael Haynes

Rachael captained the Australian Women's National Test Cricket Team only once, against England in Australia in 2017-18, 8-years after her debut in the Ashes Series in England 2009. Unlike her teammates and fellow captains, Rachael has only played 5 tests in 10 years, though she has hit 293 runs at 32.55 with a top score of 98. So too like her teammates of today, the proliferation of One Day & Twenty20 International Cricket, much of Rachael’s game time is on the short-form field on which she has entered more than 250 times, scoring more than 6000 runs. Aside captaining Australia, her achievements include five cricket world championships and captaincy for Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League.

Captain #20 - Is It You?


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