Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

England's Dream Team

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

England's Dream Team

Article excerpt

Cricket fans rejoice: England are the best team in the world. Having trounced India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand to win both the 2009 World Cup and the World Twenty20, the team have just retained the Ashes, following a spirited performance by their batting middle-order.

Dream on, you might reply. But this is the striking record of the England Women's Cricket XI over the past 12 months. Gordon Brown, for one, is impressed. Inviting the team to No 10 after their win at the World Twenty20, he said: "I know that the whole country will want to join me in recognising and celebrating a remarkable achievement."

However, the PM's gusto sounded a little hollow, and the then culture secretary, Andy Burnham, knew why. "[Women's sport] is not being taken anywhere near seriously ... enough," he told the Guardian in January.


Women's cricket is now starting to receive a higher profile. This year, Claire Taylor, the first woman ever to score a century at Lord's, also became the first woman to be voted one of Wisden's Top Five World Cricketers. But the disparity between coverage of men's and women's sports in general remains marked. Analysis by the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation in 2006 showed that sportswomen received roughly 5 per cent of the column space devoted to their male counterparts. Once tennis, athletics and swimming are dropped from the equation, the figure falls further. Women's cricket is nowhere to be seen.

Ten years after the Marylebone Cricket Club, the world's oldest club, finally deigned to admit female members, cricket remains affected by chauvinism. …

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