Katherine Sciver-Brunt bids final farewell to cricket
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Katherine Sciver-Brunt has bid a final farewell to professional cricket, in the sport’s newest format, 19 years after she made her England debut.
It is not the first big cricketing farewell of the summer, nor will it be splashed across the headlines in the same way as Stuart Broad’s announcement in July, but her contributions to the sport have been no less significant.
Sciver-Brunt will not be alone, as her bowling partner for so many years, Anya Shrubsole will also be following her into retirement, and both will play their final games in the third edition of The Hundred.
Women’s cricket when Sciver-Brunt made her debut at Scarborough in 2004 was unrecognisable compared to the fully professionalised structure found today.
It was not many years before that the women’s team had to buy their own England blazers, and they certainly were not paid to represent the country.
Sciver-Brunt had to work multiple jobs to be able to fund her own career, something that seems hard to envisage when her wife, England vice-captain Nat Sciver-Brunt earned around £340,000 during the first Women’s Premier League auction earlier this year.
Having already called time on her international career at the start of the cricketing summer, the bowler will unfortunately be denied a final farewell appearance at the Oval for the Trent Rockets due to an ongoing hip injury, but will have a team celebration for the end of their tournament and to mark the end of her career.
“She’s pushed a lot of us to be better versions of ourselves and that’s not a trait that everyone has and I think that’s really special,” England international Issy Wong told The Independent.
“I think hopefully her legacy is that now there’s younger guys of us who will hopefully now be playing for England this summer knowing exactly what a privilege it is to play for your country and the hard work that you have to do behind the scenes to get there.”
Sciver-Brunt (then Katherine Brunt) and Anya Shrubsole led England’s bowling attack for years
Wong added: “She goes into every competition and fights until the very last ball.
“So it’ll be really special this summer that she’ll be in The Hundred and we’ll be able to give her a good send off.”
Anya Shrubsole will also end her professional career after the conclusion of the tournament, which could be in the final as the Southern Brave sit top of the points table.
The duo will bow out having led England’s seam attack for the majority of the last decade before Shrubsole’s international retirement in April 2022. They have both lifted the World Cup in front of a sold-out Lords in 2017, and been there through the rise of the sport from being on the margins to more than 20,000 people at two T20s during the Ashes and a sold-out ODI series.
While both players are the type to shy away from the spotlight, at least off the field, it is unlikely that their teammates will allow them to play down the occasion, and one thing is for sure, it marks the end of an era in the sport.
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