Authors: Rio Sports
Women’s cricket has lost its leading Test run-scorer and century-maker with the death of Jan Brittin, the trailblazing former England international, aged 58. Brittin had been battling cancer and died on Monday.
Brittin’s was a remarkable, era-spanning career. She made her Test debut in 1979 alongside the likes of Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who died in January aged 77, and Enid Bakewell, and by the time she retired in 1998 she was opening the batting with Charlotte Edwards, who retired from the game just last month. Edwards tweeted: “She was was my idol growing up, so calm, elegant, determined and very modest.”
In 27 Tests, she made five centuries in her 1,935 runs, averaging 49.61; with ever fewer women’s Tests these are records that appear very unlikely to be broken. Edwards sits in second place with 1,676.
Brittin also scored 2,121 one-day international runs in 63 matches, with a further five centuries, and top-scored with 48 in England’s victorious Women’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s in 1993. During that innings she became the first woman to pass 1,000 ODI runs, and also took the catch that sealed the victory.
“JB was was one of the most quiet and unassuming cricketers you could meet, but she was pure class,” said Clare Connor, the director of England’s Women’s cricket and a former team-mate of Brittin’s. “An outstanding cricketer and a truly lovely person. In a year when England have again won the World Cup at Lord’s, we should not forget the huge contribution JB made to the development and success of women’s cricket in this country.
“For girls of my generation she was our first real female role model. She batted with grace and timing – a classical opener, so beautiful to watch. She was also a brilliantly athletic cover fielder. JB was born to play Test cricket and it’s unlikely that her record in this format will ever be beaten. She also had a fine record in the one-day game, and of course she made that significant contribution to England’s World Cup win at Lord’s in 1993.
“On behalf of the ECB and the England women’s team, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Jan’s family and friends.”
Brittin was born in Kingston and was a stalwart of Surrey cricket (having spent her entire career there, she is the county’s leading women’s runscorer), and the club flag at The Oval will fly at half-mast for the remainder of the current Championship match against Yorkshire in her honour.
“JB was such an inspiration to me and many others growing up who were able to watch or play with one of the greatest female cricketers of all time,” said Ebony Rainford-Brent, the former England all-rounder and director of women’s cricket at Surrey.
“As a character she was fun, engaging and always generous in her knowledge, particularly when she gave back as a coach later in her career. Her records speak for themselves the class of player she was and will stand the test of time.”
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