Charlotte: I have a responsibility as a role model

"Things are changing all the time. There have been a lot of positive comments recently (about women’s cricket). People have started seeing women’s cricket for what it is and not comparing it to the men’s game," says the England skipper.

Charlotte Edwards... "My journey has been an interesting one in terms of starting as an amateur and becoming professional, with challenges along the way.”   -  Getty Images

She is one of the most popular faces in women’s cricket. Charlotte Edwards, 36, is an icon. However, the England captain does not believe that she is an icon; she feels that she has a responsibility as a role model to young players.

“I guess I don’t really see myself as that best. I know I have a responsibility as the England captain and as a role model to young players. I just go about my business of performing well for England. I set my standards high and hopefully I can keep achieving them as long as possible,” Charlotte says.

In July, it will be 20 years since ‘Lottie’ made her international debut as a 16-year-old — once a record for being the youngest debutante for her country in Tests.

“My journey has been an interesting one in terms of starting as an amateur and becoming professional, with challenges along the way,” says Charlotte.

Sitting in the lounge of a city hotel, which has been the home of the English team during its preparatory week, Charlotte says she cannot remember a moment when she felt like walking away from the game — not even when she suffered humiliating defeats.

“I never want to walk away, I absolutely love it,” she insists.

After playing back-to-back matches on successive days, the England team has been given a day off. While some of the players have decided to visit a local temple — they, however, end up visiting Chennai’s famous lighthouse and spending a couple of hours at a local mall — Charlotte is gracious enough to stay put at the hotel and answer every question.

“Things are changing all the time. There have been a lot of positive comments recently (about women’s cricket). People have started seeing women’s cricket for what it is and not comparing it to the men’s game,” she says.

To a query on the kind of questions she gets tired of answering, Charlotte says, “I don’t get tired of answering questions. (Then stops) Sledging! Do we sledge? That always comes up.”

On wanting to prove her critics wrong and reclaim the World Twenty20 title that England last won in 2009 (England entered the final in the last two editions but lost to Australia on both occasions), Charlotte says, “Any big loss is disappointing.

“I would not have cried on the pitch, but I am sure I would have shed a few tears off the pitch.”

Her concern for the women’s game is not restricted to England alone. In a very benign mood, Charlotte expresses her ultimate wish that she would like to see come true before she leaves the game.

“All I want is an even-playing field, and it will be great for all the international teams to be fully professional. That is something which needs to happen.”