England's Charlotte Edwards retires from international cricket
The captain of the England Women’s team Charlotte Edwards has announced her decision to retire from international cricket drawing to a close a career that spanned nearly 20 years.
Edwards made her debut for England in July 1996 and has since played 191 One-Day Internationals, 95 Twenty20 Internationals and 23 Test matches.
From the 191 ODIs, Edwards has 5,992 runs at an average of 38.16 including nine centuries and 46 fifties, the 36-year-old has retired as the highest run-scorer in the format.
In 93 T20I innings, Edwards scored 2,605 runs and is also the leading run scorer in the format in both men’s and women’s cricket
With 1,676 runs from 43 Test innings at an average of 44.10, Edwards is the highest run-scorer in the format and has four centuries and nine fifties.
Edwards took over as captain in 2006 and led her team to three Ashes wins as well as victory in the 2009 Women’s World Cup in Australia.
In 2009, Edwards was also at the helm when England added a Women’s World T20 triumph to their record by beating New Zealand at home in the final.
Edwards is the only England captain in both men’s and women’s cricket to have led her team in more than 200 matches across all formats.
Admitting that it was a difficult decision for her, Edwards reflected on her long England career and said that it was the right time for a new leader to take the team forward.
"Everyone who knows me – and how much I love playing for England – will appreciate what a difficult decision it has been for me to retire from international cricket," Edwards said.
"I have given 20 years to playing for England and I leave very proud of the standing in which the women’s game is held and of my contribution as a player and captain.
"As a 16-year-old girl making my debut for England, I couldn’t have dreamt that I would have had such an amazing time with so much success.
"I’ve travelled the world, won World Cups and Ashes series and shared it all with some of my closest friends.
"However, nothing lasts forever. I believe now is the right time for a new captain to lead the team forward and for young players to be given more opportunities to make their mark on the international game."
Expressing her gratitude and thanks to all the people who contributed to her career, Edwards said that she is proud of the current position of women’s cricket.
"Twenty years is a long time and so I have many people to thank: my family, my friends, every single coach who has helped me get better during my career, all the support staff and my England team mates over the last two decades
"They are all special to me and I couldn’t have achieved even half of what I have without them.
"I also want to thank everyone at the ECB for all their support and guidance over the years, and to the incredible fan base that has grown for the England women’s team throughout my career.
"Aside from the team’s successes and my own personal record, I am most proud of where the women’s game is now.
"I have loved working with the ECB off the pitch to break new ground and to build a better future for the sport, and I hope to continue to play a role in this moving forwards."
ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison thanked and lauded Edwards’ contribution to the game in the last two decades.
"Charlotte Edwards has been at the heart of the England women’s team and a major force in international women’s cricket for two decades," he began.
"Her outstanding achievements in the game during that time are unrivalled, and in many aspects, are unlikely to ever be surpassed.
"She is a credit to her country and our sport, and deserves nothing but celebration and enormous respect for the way in which she has played the game over the last 20 years.
"She leaves the most wonderful legacy, having inspired countless women and girls around the world to pick up a bat and a ball and play the game she so clearly loves.
"On behalf of the ECB and everyone involved in England cricket, I would like to thank Charlotte for her very special contribution to the game."
Wishing her all the success in the future the ECB director of England Women’s Cricket Clare Connor said that the game owes Edwards a "huge debt of gratitude".
"It is impossible to quantify Charlotte’s contribution to England women’s cricket in a few words, so great has her influence and inspiration been as a leader, and so prolific her record as a batsman," Connor said.
"In a staggering career spanning 20 years, she has achieved it all. She has given everything to playing cricket for England and the game will forever owe her a huge debt of gratitude.
"I wish her every success and happiness as she embarks on the next stage of her life."
In a media release, the ECB confirmed that Edwards will continue to play domestic cricket and will lead the Southern Vipers in the Kia Super League and will also captain Kent in the One-day Championship.
The ECB also clarified that Edwards’ replacement as England Women’s team captain will be made in due course.
© Cricket World 2016