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ICC Hall of Fame: Cathryn Fitzpatrick

Hall of Fame

A true exponent of fearsome pace bowling, Australia’s Cathryn Fitzpatrick was hailed as the fastest bowler in women's cricket through the 1990s and 2000s. Across a decade and a half of top-flight cricket, Fitzpatrick led Australia’s pace attack with aplomb, generating menacing speeds even in her late 30s.

Born in Melbourne, Fitzpatrick made her international debut as a 22-year old in the 1991 Adelaide Test against India, playing the same opponent, at the same venue, in her final Test 15 years later. She featured in 109 ODIs between 1993 and 2007, as well as 13 Tests, even getting a taste of the shortest format through two T20Is, before her retirement in May 2007.

In June 2005, she became the first female bowler to reach the milestone of 150 ODI wickets. Bowling in excess of 75 mph, even in the latter stages of her career, she ended as the most successful ODI bowler with 180 wickets, before India’s Jhulan Goswami surpassed her in 2017.

Fitzpatrick's tally of 60 Test wickets stands as the second best by an Australian, behind Betty Wilson’s count of 68 dismissals
Fitzpatrick's tally of 60 Test wickets stands as the second best by an Australian, behind Betty Wilson’s count of 68 dismissals

Her tally of 60 Test wickets stands as the second best by an Australian, behind Betty Wilson’s count of 68 dismissals. Her miserly economy of 1.91 highlighted her impact with the new ball, while her six four-wicket hauls, and two five-fors in just 24 Test innings, underlined her ability to single-handedly run through lineups.

In ODIs, she picked up three five-wicket hauls, the last of which came in 2006, maintaining an enviable career economy of 3.01.

Slightly built, but never short on pace, Fitzpatrick was a part of two Australian World Cup-winning campaigns, separated across eight years (1997 and 2005). Her tally of 12 wickets in six games, at an average of 8.83, led Australia’s charge to the title in 1997. As a 37-year old in 2005, she was still leading the pack of quicks, ending as Australia’s third-best wicket-taker with ten victims in seven matches.

Fitzpatrick celebrates Australia's 2005 World Cup triumph with teammates
Fitzpatrick celebrates Australia's 2005 World Cup triumph with teammates

She was named 2004’s International Woman Cricketer of the Year at the Allan Border awards. Even at 39, Fitzpatrick’s speeds hardly dimmed, as she ended her final ODI with figures of 2/27 in ten overs, also effecting a run-out, and taking two catches in the field against New Zealand.

After quitting international cricket, she remained close to the game, and soon ventured into coaching. Having completed her coaching course at Brisbane’s Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence, she was named acting head coach of Australia just two months into retirement.

She continued her contribution to Australia’s success even as a coach; under her full-time stint, the team won the 2013 World Cup, as well as the 2012 and 2014 T20 World Cups.

Earlier this year, she was inducted in the Australian Hall of Fame, along with Dean Jones and Billy Murdoch.

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