England’s Jenny Gunn is all set to create history by becoming the first cricketer — male or female — to reach the magic mark of 100 Twenty20 matches when her team plays India in the T20 tri-series at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday.
The Nottingham-born 31-year-old made her T20 debut at the age of 18 against New Zealand at Hove and has scored 665 runs and taken 73 wickets at 18.22; she registered her best figures — five-for-18 — against the West Indies at Bridgetown in October, 2013. She did not bowl in 28 matches.
Recalling the strange part of her long cricketing journey, Jenny said: “You always have people tell you that you belong to the kitchen and you shouldn't be playing cricket. They would say that pretty much behind social media. They wouldn't say it to you on your face. And half the time you would want them to go to the nets and face us and actually prove that they can do better than us. That’s something we will always find. But I would say, if we can be more successful and show what we can do, I think we can have things going our way.”
When asked to describe the cherished moment that would arrive on Sunday, Jenny, who doesn’t like to be addressed as ‘Jennifer’, said: “We had some discussions with the youngsters in our team. They asked when I actually made my debut in T20 and it was actually back in 2004 and a few of the girls weren’t five years old. So, I can’t really believe I am going to pay my 100th game hopefully tomorrow. I can’t until the captain tells me it is going to be my 100th game. I just want to play cricket for England, as long as I wear the three lions every time. Hopefully my 100th cap will cap off a very good win.”
T20 a ‘short, sharp and exciting format’
Like majority of the women cricketers, Jenny, whose grandmother is a Belarusian, has been part of the T20 moment that has taken women’s cricket forward. “The idea was to get people to see a shorter format, 50-over and Test is a long day. To get more kids involved in shorter, sharp and exciting format, T20 is a good way in.”
Asked to comment on the ‘whiff ball’ she is associated with, Jenny explained:
“Everyone is talking about the whiff. It’s been 14 years of calling me a chucker. But literally it was just about while playing around that I found the slower ball, something that really worked. I don't know how I bowl, I don't watch much of that. It would get too much into my head. I'll then focus too much on it. Literally, it just happened by accident. I didn't call it the whiff, it was Heather (Knight) who called it the whiff. She only asks me to bowl that. Women's cricket is something that new people are watching it and say that my action is dodgy; I chuck it, it's ugly. So I'm like, it was 14 years ago. So you know you're doing something right, if more people are remarking on my action. Isn't it positive in a way that we're getting new people?”
- Women: Jenny Gunn (England) 99, Deandra Dottin (West Indies) 97, Alex Blackwell (Australia, retd.) 95, Charlotte Edwards (England, retd.) 95, Suzie Bates (New Zealand) 94, Anisa Mohammad (West Indies) 94
- Men: Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) 98, Shoaib Malik (Pakistan) 92, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India) 89.
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