Alex Blackwell calls time on career

"I’m very happy with the decision and really excited about the opportunities ahead.” © Getty Images

“I’m very happy with the decision and really excited about the opportunities ahead.” © Getty Images

Alex Blackwell, Australia’s most capped woman player, announced her retirement from international and state cricket on Monday (February 19). However, she will continue to play in the Women’s Big Bash League, where she has captained the Sydney Thunder since the inaugural season.

Blackwell, 34, revealed her decision a day after the Lendlease NSW Breakers sealed their berth in the 50-over Women’s National Cricket League final. The Saturday final against Western Australia will be her last match for the state.

In her 15-year Australian career, Blackwell played 12 Tests, 144 One-Day Internationals and 95 Twenty20 Internationals, compiling 5250 runs across formats. She also played a total of 138 50-over matches and 68 T20s for her native New South Wales in a career spanning over 17 years, scoring 4764 and 1956 runs at an average of 47.17 and 54.33 respectively.

Appointed vice-captain of the national side in 2008, the hard-hitting middle-order batter also had a stint as national captain, leading the team in the 2009 Women’s World Cup at home, and to the Women’s World T20 crown in the Caribbean in 2010. Blackwell was also a member of Australia’s World T20 winning sides in 2012 and 2014 to go with her two World Cup trophies (2005 and 2013).

Blackwell, who crossed the 250-game mark last October during the Women’s Ashes, said she wanted to walk away at the right time. “It creeps into your mind well in advance of the actual moment,” she said.

“I’ve been very conscious of wanting to transition the next leaders in the NSW Breakers and the Australian team and having conversations around that over the last few years. I guess the decision to retire was really final in this season. I’m very happy with that decision and really excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Also read: Women’s cricket is improving exponentially: Blackwell

Not just with her bat, Blackwell also made an immense contribution to the growth of the women’s game off the field. “What I’m also proud of is the part that I’ve played in an organisation that has really led on issues such as diversity and inclusion and gender equity,” she added.

“What I’m most proud of is probably my ability to continue to evolve as a batter, in particular with the introduction of T20 cricket. My constant pursuit of personal excellence and mastery of batting, which continues.”

James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, congratulated Blackwell on her career. “Alex has been a wonderful servant to Australian Cricket, and a tremendous leader both at national and international level, and we congratulate her on an outstanding career that has spanned more than 16 years,” he said.

“She was a talented cricketer – a fierce competitor, hard-working and far more often than not, a winner – Alex played an instrumental role in the dominance of both the Australian and New South Wales teams over the last decade. There’s no doubt Alex will be missed but she should be incredibly proud of what she has achieved and the way she has competed on all stages, and we wish her all the best for the future ahead.”