Monday 22 June 2009

Cricketing Inequality

The England women’s cricket side has now added the World Twenty 20 to the full World Cup and the Ashes. Not only are they comfortably the best side in women’s cricket, they are also one of Britain’s most successful sporting outfits full stop.
And yet, where is their recognition? Their captain Charlotte Edwards has an MBE, announced in the Queen’s Birthday honours. And yet the men all got MBEs for winning one series against Australia four years ago.
Paul Collingwood got his for appearing in one Test, scoring 7 and 10. Indeed, the supposed injustice of his award has been the subject of frequent sledging from the Australians ever since. Compare that to Clare Taylor, player of the tournament that has just finished averaging an almost incredible 199. Over a 10 year career, she has been shortlisted for the ICC Women’s Player of the Year Award three times, averages over 40 in Tests and One-day internationals and was the first women to be selected as one of Wisden’s 5 cricketers of the year earlier this year.
And she is just one. The whole team has taken the sport to new levels of professionalism and excellence. They have also done huge amounts to promote participation at the grassroots. No falling off pedalos, 5-0 thrashings or glossy photo shoots for them.
So where is their reward? We might think that the men’s MBEs in 2005 was a gross over-reaction to one summer of excellence but in any sporting terms, the achievements of the England women demand recognition. The England rugby team all won honours after winning their own World Cup in 2003. The England women's side are currently comfortably our most successful national sporting team. Can you imagine the reaction if the men manage to retain the Ashes this year - let alone win both the 50 and 20 over World Cups. We might well be talking about Sir Andrew Strauss.
We celebrated the fact that Charlotte Edwards got her MBE and yet we should have been protesting that the rest of the team deserved them as well. Since then, they have triumphed yet again. Next time, they should all get the appropriate reward.

1 comment:

Sunder Katwala said...

Good argument. Seconded. It should not be difficult to do it.

Perhaps you should write a letter to The Times: is that still an appropriate way to influence honours awards?! Or make a public nomination!