Alex Blackwell, Australia's most-capped female cricketer, is hanging up her playing boots, with this season of the Women's Big Bash League set to be her last.
Blackwell, who announced her international retirement in February 2018 after 251 appearances, had continued to feature in the WBBL for Sydney Thunder. On Wednesday, 27 November, she confirmed that the 2019 edition – her 18th year on the domestic circuit – would be her last.
She told her teammates of her decision following their win over Melbourne Stars, in which she struck 65 off 47 balls.
What a magnificent, 18-year career it's been for @AlexBlackwell2!— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) November 28, 2019
🔹 12 Tests, 144 ODIs, 95 T20s - Australia's most capped woman.
🔹 Captained Australia to its first ever T20 World Cup victory
🔹 Highest run scorer for @ThunderBBL
Thanks for all the memories, Alex! pic.twitter.com/Ijz7mGoOtH
"I'd decided before the match that I was going to retire," she said. "It's got to come to an end at some point. There's been many highlights, but what's been really cool [this season] is watching the next generation of Thunder players grabbing their opportunities. It's been very special to be a part of that – I'm really satisfied."
The 36-year-old Blackwell, who is Thunder's most capped player and highest run-getter, among the men and women, is their leading scorer this year. At the same time, she has taken on a greater coaching and mentoring role in recent months.
"I've been really happy with [the role of] mentoring out in the middle," she said. "I had an opportunity against the Stars to bat with [youngsters] Phoebe Litchfield and Saskia Horley. It was good to talk to them about what the good options were to go to, and to help clarify in their minds what was on, and where to back themselves."
Blackwell, who led Australia to the T20 World Cup title in 2010 and Thunder to the WBBL title in the inaugural edition, said she had been tempted to continue playing after last year's WBBL semi-final, where Thunder suffered a narrow last-ball defeat.
"I was heartbroken, but also amazed, by last year's semi-final. I, well, a little bit selfishly thought to myself, 'I've worked so hard to get to this point and contributed to cricket for a long period of time for it to reach this point'.
"I thought the WBBL was an amazing competition to be a part of and decided I could go again, and I'm pleased I did. It's been good fun."
Blackwell will continue to be associated with cricket through her role as Cricket NSW board member – last year she became the first woman on the board in the 160-year history of the organisation.
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