Market research shows that the Australian women’s cricket team scores the highest in terms of an emotional connection for national outfits among fans. As per the fifth annual online survey of almost 4,000 sports fans conducted last month by research agency True North, the Australian women’s cricket team ranked first ahead of the men’s T20 and Test cricket outfits. This result shows that women’s cricket in Australia is slowly but surely garnering traction and has a bright future ahead.
As a tribute to the Australian women’s cricket team, on November 25, the eye-catching book ‘Clearing Boundaries – The Rise of Australian Women’s Cricket’ was launched at the Sydney Cricket Ground by the hands of former Australia representatives Mel Jones and Lisa Sthalekar, Bradman Foundation Executive Director Rina Horne and author Fiona Bollen.
Clearing Boundaries to be launched tomorrow by @sthalekar93 🙌
Be sure to check it out for these and plenty of other iconic photos and stories 📸
— Bradman (@BradmanBowral) November 23, 2020
The book records the playing statistics of the 176 women Test players, the 142 women ODI players, and 53 women T20I players from 1934 to date. Apart from these statistics, it contains striking historic photographs such as those of the ‘New South Wales Team of Lady Cricketers’ who played a match against a troupe of male theatre actors at the SCG in 1898, and the first Australian women’s team to play the Ashes series against England in Australia in 1934-35. In addition, it pays tribute to pioneers of the game in Australia such as inaugural captain Margaret Peden, record-breaking all-rounder Betty Wilson and the nation’s first Indigenous Test player, Faith Thomas.
Stunning action photographs also capture magic moments from earlier women’s internationals at Test grounds including the WACA (Perth), Lord’s (London), Eden Gardens (Kolkata), Galle International Stadium (Sri Lanka), and this year’s record crowd of more than 86,000 for the ICC World T20 final at the MCG.
A number of photos that one finds in the book are among the 42,000 historic cricket-related photographs from the former Fairfax Media archive that had were sent to the United States for digitization in 2013 only to end up in the hands of private sellers. They were eventually bought by former Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards and donated to the Bradman Foundation (of which Edwards is a director), and many of them feature in ‘Clearing Boundaries’ which is produced by the Bradman Museum in partnership with Churchill Press. Last week, Edwards, while speaking to cricket.com.au, said, “A lot of these photos, nobody would have seen. And that … made me realize that one of the most significant elements missing from Australian cricket history is documentation of the women’s game, particularly in photographic form.”
Belinda Clark, who was the captain of Australia in all three formats during her 15-year long playing career, said, “Recognition of this important past is critical to plotting the course and growing opportunities for women and girls to simply play cricket,” Clark wrote in her foreword for ‘Clearing Boundaries’.
The women’s game is rich with firsts, innovations, and pioneers that have shaped the sport we know and love today. The pictures of strong female role models striding out to the middle for those early Tests are heart-warming and inspiring. The Australian teams following in their footsteps ever since have been full of the same pride and passion. From Margaret Peden to (current skipper) Meg Lanning, and everyone in between, we are blessed with Australian women who have made such a positive impact on the game of cricket.”