Women’s cricket has been around for quite a long time now and yet we aren’t fully aware of the history created or the records held by them. While we all say Sachin Tendulkar was the first to score a double century in ODI cricket, it is in fact not true. It was Belinda Clark who scored the first ODI double century – a good ten years before Sachin.
Recently, in the India vs England test series, when Ravichandran Ashwin scored a hundred and was on the verge of getting ten wickets, we all recalled that this feat was achieved by Alan Davidson, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, and Shakib Al Hasan but little did we think of the legendary Betty Wilson who was the first cricketer ever to do the double. She achieved this incredible record way back in 1958 against England at St. Kilda when she took 7/7 on a wet wicket which also included the first-ever test hattrick in women’s cricket.
On this day in 1958, the great Betty Wilson became first ever cricketer to score 100 runs and take ten wickets in the same Test match! ✨ pic.twitter.com/5mjErW8N0E
— Australian Women’s Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) February 24, 2021
Regarded as one of the greatest women cricketers of all time, Wilson learned the game by playing against a lamp post in her street. Such was the quality of her game, that she made it to Victoria’s second XI at the age of 14 and to the senior side at 16. Unfortunately, the Second World War delayed her debut till 1948 but when she did make her debut against New Zealand, she scored 90 and took 10 wickets in the match. In just her second match she scored 111 which made her the first Australian woman to score a century against England.
Records kept tumbling whenever Betty made her way onto the field. In 1949, she became the first woman to score a century and to take a five-wicket haul in an innings of a test match. Throughout her career, Wilson played just 11 tests but such was her performance that her name has been etched in the minds of every cricket fan. She scored 862 runs at an impressive average of 57.48 and took 68 wickets at 11.80.
Betty Wilson left her mark not only on the field but also off it. In 1985, she became the first woman cricketer to be inducted into the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame, in 1986, the Under-21 National Women’s Cricket Championship was renamed as the Betty Wilson Shield. In 2015, she was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and in 2017, she became an inductee in the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. As a way to honor her impact on the youngsters of the game, the Betty Wilson Young Player of the Year award was instituted at the 2017 Allan Border Medal Ceremony to recognize the up-and-coming female cricketers who are under the age of 25 and have played 10 or fewer matches.
Looking at her career and her achievements, it would be fair to say that Betty was one of the best cricketers to have ever played the game. Her legacy has been so profound that even today her records stand tall and are etched in our memory.