After wearing the proud Australian Women’s cap, inspiring fans and colleagues alike, and drawing respect from her opponents, in a career that must be celebrated as much for its mesmeric longevity as it should be hailed for its bravery, Alex Blackwell has put her bat to rest. But implicit in Alex Blackwell’s retirement is a sense of nostalgia that will certainly grip the cricket lover, not only in Australia but pretty much everywhere where the legendary batswoman played, batting with elan and marshaling her troops with charisma.
But Alex Blackwell’s retirement comes only after making an impact consistently in the very sport she excelled for nearly two long decades, having first arrived in 2001.
As she exits the stage as Australia’s most-capped player, Alex Blackwell will be hailed for having forged a career that spanned divergent eras in Australian cricket, being among the few who rubbed shoulders with another great of the game in Cathryn Fitzpatrick and played alongside a unit that had the mercurial Ellyse Perry.
In some ways, therefore, one is moved by the fact that Blackwell ushered Australia to an era where Women’s Cricket was still trying to feature in the mainstream, retiring at a time where events like the massively-celebrated WBBL has emerged as a platform one can’t imagine the women’s game without.
In a sport that demands nothing but constant rigors, Alex Blackwell stood tall to the towering demands of the game, carving a niche at having excelled in all-formats, being among the few exemplary players who got a chance to contribute in Test Cricket, a format that hardly sees participation from the Women’s game nowadays.
Maybe that should give the ICC something to think about?
At a time where much of our instant appreciation for modern-day run-makers stems from their strike rate in T20 internationals, it mustn’t be forgotten that Blackwell batted for Australia in 22 Test innings, from which she churned well over440 career runs. Alex Blackwell’s retirement comes amid drastically different times to the ones in which she formed the initial stages of her glowing career.
When she first wielded the bat at the international era, the Women’s National cricket league was still at a nascent stage; about to enter just its sixth season.
One among the many Australian stalwarts who have entertained as much as they have inspired, Alex Blackwell’s retirement comes two years after she had called time on her international Australia career.
She won’t participate in the domestic and franchise T20 structure
But the widely-respected champion steps away not before the cricketer who generated inspiration, demonstrated an exhibition of typical stroke-making and flamboyance, in a match-winning 65 off merely 47, taking her Sydney Thunder over the Melbourne Stars this last Wednesday, November 27.
To many, her greatest achievement with Thunder was leading the club to the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League title in 2015/16.
But a record that would inspire envy even from the menfolk in the sport, is Alex Blackwell’s overall run tally for Sydney Thunder. The only batswoman, regardless of the men or women’s game to have scored 1751 runs for the famous Aussie franchise in WBBL, Blackwell’s powerful batting and the gift for timing will inspire generations to come.