I miss playing but commentating is the next best job

Recently retired England cricket captain Charlotte Edwards gives her views on England’s outstanding 3-0 victory over Pakistan in the Royal London one-day international series and gives the lowdown on her first stints behind the mic with Sky Sports

It was a bit odd turning up to England’s first one-day international against Pakistan and not getting ready with the players. My focus was around the commentary and it was good to have that to take my mind off it no longer being part of the England set-up. I really missed playing, but I think I’ve got the next best job sitting in the commentary box.

I’m still good friends with many of the players, but something I’ve always prided myself on when I was playing and captaining was being really honest. Being honest on commentary wasn’t something I was really worried about; I wouldn’t say anything on air I wouldn’t say to their face. A lot of the other commentators said the most difficult thing would be having to criticise your friends. I never saw that as a real challenge because I was always tried to be honest as a captain. That helped me in my new job.

As a player I was very lucky to be vice-captain to Clare Connor. She was someone who helped me a lot throughout my time as a player. Steve Waugh was always someone I looked up to. I finally got to meet him a last years ago and it was embarrassing when I first met him, I was so excited! He was so lovely and he knew who I was which was even more amazing.

It was always going to be weird whenever I stopped being captain and I knew it was going to be hard. Heather is someone I worked really closely with towards the end of my career and I knew the team was in safe hands. She was more than ready to take up the reins and she’s done a fantastic job. Pakistan aren’t the most fearful of teams, but Heather will have been really pleased with how ruthless England have been.

As for Tammy Beaumont, I’ve known her since she was about 12 years old, so there’s no one more pleased than me with how she performed in scoring two centuries and 342 runs in the three innings against Pakistan. Tammy took a huge amount of confidence from the winter with Mark Robinson coming in and seeing a real potential in her. Anyone who knows Tammy knew she was capable of doing what she’s done, it was just about her believing. She actually believes now that she does deserve to play at this level.

TAUNTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 27: Former England Women's Captain Charlotte Edwards looks on during the 3rd Royal Royal London ODI between England Women and Pakistan Women at The Cooper Associates County Ground on June 27, 2016 in Somerset, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
TAUNTON, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 27: Former England Women’s Captain Charlotte Edwards looks on during the 3rd Royal Royal London ODI between England Women and Pakistan Women at The Cooper Associates County Ground on June 27, 2016 in Somerset, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

As for commentary, I describe it as like being in another dressing room. They’ve made me feel really comfortable and it’s been such good fun. Having Lisa there, someone I’ve played with a lot, has been brilliant to bounce off.

I’ve been really strict on what I’ve been eating in the commentary box. When you’re playing you get a lot of healthy food. The food with Sky is amazing, but it’s just not that healthy! There’s a lot of chips and pies. The guys are always trying to get me to eat chocolate biscuits and ginger nuts, and I can’t turn down chocolate biscuits when there are cups of tea on offer!

I always get into the Olympics quite late as the cricket season is normally on, but I will be glued to the television next month. I’m hoping we win lots of gold medals and the women are successful. The awkward times of the Olympics, being in Brazil, might favour cricket as the Olympics do tend to take over.

I snapped my cruciate ligament playing hockey when I was young and I haven’t touched a hockey stick since! But I would really like to see the hockey team do well. They came so close in London four years ago and it would be amazing to see them win at medal.

Sky Sports’ Women’s Cricket Week launches on July 2 and is an initiative to encourage women of all ages to try cricket. The week is part of Sky’s year of women’s sport and includes live coverage of England’s T20 series against Pakistan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article is by Charlotte Edwards CBE.

Amy Lofthouse is a freelance cricket journalist for the Guardian and the BBC. She has covered England’s women at home and away for three years, as well as reporting on men’s county cricket. She was a finalist in the 2012 David Welch Student Sportswriter competition. Amy’s latest articles.

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