It’s not easy for anyone to make it to the national side at any sports. Days and months of hard practice and then you get the chance to represent your national color. But there are wonder-women in the world who achieved this feat not just in one sport but many. This article is dedicated to all such wonder-women who fought the social and several others taboos to climb the peak.
1. Janette Brittin (England)
Left this beautiful world just couple of days before, Janette Brittin was one of the most gifted sportsperson, who tried her luck in cricket also. Popularly known as ‘JAN’, Brittin had a tremendous batting record under her name. The overall highest run scorer with highest 50+ innings in tests, Brittin was also the member of 1993 World Cup team for England. With 1935 runs at an average of 49.61 with 11 50’s and 6 100’s Brittin’s records seems like the Everest to scale for other batters in Women cricket. Even if we admit the fact that the number of test matches have reduced for women cricketers in past few decades than that of previous times, that doesn’t undermines Jan’s achievement as a cricketer. Brittin featured in four Women’s World Cups – 1982, 1988, 1993 1997. At the time of her retirement, she was one of the only three players to have achieved the feat, the others being New Zealand’s Debbie Hockley and Sharon Tredreg of Australia. In 1993, she guided the England team to World Cup win, that too at the Mecca of cricket, Lord’s, where earlier women were not allowed even in the pavilion or were allowed to be members of the Marylebone Cricket Club. But apart from the blistering records like first woman to score 1000 runs in Women’s World Cup and many such more; Brittin didn’t restrict herself only to a single sport and she continued to play and represent England in Indoor Cricket and Indoor hockey.
2. Suzie Bates (New Zealand)
Suzannah Wilson “Suzie” Bates popularly known as Suzie Bates is a New Zealand cricketer who displayed her skills in various other sports apart from cricket. She is one of the most premium all-rounders in modern day women cricket. With 3639 runs @ 42.43 and the best of 168 in ODI, she is a prolific opener and a handy medium fast bowler who has taken 72 wickets @ 31.30. Leading her side The White Ferns from 2011. She was Player of the Tournament at the 2013 World Cup, and was later named the ICC’s one-day Player of the Year.
Against Pakistan during the 2014 World Twenty20, she scored 91 runs which was the highest score by a New Zealand woman in the format; and she finished 2015 fourth on the all-time list of run-scorers in Twenty20 internationals. Back in 2014, Suzie Bates was selected to captain the Rest of the World against MCC Women at Lord’s, which she considers the highlight of her career. One of the best picks for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League in Australia in 2015-16. Winner of Wisden Women Cricketer of the year in 2013 and ICC women cricketer of the year in both ODI and T-20, Bates plays for the Otago Sparks in the State League, the Southern Vipers in the Women’s Cricket Super League as well as for the Perth Scorchers in WBBL.
Born in 1987 in Dunedin, Bates learned the game in the backyard with her two older brothers. Back in 2011, she needed to make a decisive choice. Cricket or basketball? White Ferns or Tall Ferns? She had played both from a young age, and represented New Zealand at basketball at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. For a time, she balanced the two. But, in July 2011, the White Ferns offered her the captaincy which demanded the full time commitment from her; she decided to leave Basket Ball and chose cricket. To a lady who played several sports from her young age its quiet difficult to choose one. She once said “I don’t have vivid memories of loving cricket. I loved basketball and tennis, I played rugby and soccer.”
3. Sophie Devine (New Zealand):
Like her skipper Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine an all round sport person is an integral part of New Zealand’s national side. On 11 July 2015, Devine broke the international record (men or women) for the fastest Twenty20 half century (from 18 balls), and fastest 70 runs (from 22 balls), and included scoring 32 off one over in the first match against India and came under the spotlight.
But much before that, way back in 2006 she made her international debut in ODI and T-20 for white ferns. Her more than 1500 runs and 85 wickets in ODI gave New Zealand many memories to cherish. One of them came in the recent concluded women’s world cup. Though she failed to live up to the expectation,]Sophie Devine has smashed 93 off just 41 balls to lead the White Ferns to an easy win over Pakistan in the group match. Devine’s swashbuckling knock, which included a women’s ODI world record nine sixes in an single innings, made it a cake walk for the White Ferns.
However Devine is more dangerous in t-20 format and her hitting capabilities makes her a tremendous weapon to kill the opposition. Evident from her century in the very first season of WBBL where she hit WBBL’s first century for the Adelaide Strikers. In the first season of the Women Super League she played for Loughborough Lightning and riding high on the shoulder of her performances, she was admitted into the squad by Yorkshire Diamonds in the 2nd season. Apart from these teams in New Zealand Domestic circuit she plays for Wellington Blazes alongside Rachel Priest and newbie Amelia Kerr.
But wait, the above points or the achievements doesn’t reveal the entire story. As a 15-year-old, Sophie Devine had two options after tests revealed she had diabetes: continue with her love for sport, or stop living a life she desired. Only a week later, a call was made. She entered the hockey field to play for her local club. 10 years now, the New Zealander has not only fulfilled her dream of playing sport at the highest level, but also lived it twice. Sophie has represented her country both in hockey and cricket, and was part of the White Ferns team for the World T20. Setting foot on a sporting field looked a far-fetched possibility for her when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, let alone stepping out on two of them.
It was prior to the London Olympics in 2012, where she knew herself and also from the coaching staff in hockey that she needed to make a decision and commit her to one sport 100 per cent. In her words, “I wasn’t doing myself justice in the time I was spending jumping between the two sports.” So she decided to stick to cricket. And though she didn’t make the Olympics squad, Devine doesn’t regret the choice. She last played hockey at the highest level in 2011, switching to cricket completely post that. The 26-year-old earned a professional contract from New Zealand Cricket in 2013, in which she not only had to play, but also coach and promote women’s cricket among schools in her country. She, however, still remains attached to her passion. Though she doesn’t play hockey for her national side as fullback after 2011, it remained a source of her refreshment. Good at many sports, swimming is the ‘Achilles Hill’ for Devine, where she is completely “hopeless.”
4. Ellyse Perry (Australia):
Ellyse Alexandra Perry (born 3 November 1990) is an Australian sportswoman who made her debut for both the Australian cricket and the Australian women’s national soccer team at the age of 16. She is the youngest Australian Player to have played both the World Cups.
On 29 May 2012, Heather Reid, the chief executive of her soccer club Canberra United FC, had asked Perry to either choose soccer or cricket so as to ensure maximum output. Amidst all the hassles between her soccer and cricket official bodies, Perry continued to dominate and emerged as an overall sports personality.
If you know more such sports personalities, do comment below and we shall cover them in this article.