Alex Blackwell will call time on her record-breaking playing career at the end of this Women’s Big Bash League. The 36-year-old Australian cricketer, who stepped away from international cricket couple of years and now represents Sydney Thunder, has confirmed that the ongoing domestic season would be her 19th and last.
Blackwell scored 65 off 47 balls in a victory over Melbourne Stars on Wednesday (November 27), which is when she made the announcement.
“I’d decided before the match that I was going to retire,” Blackwell said after the game. “It’s got to come to an end at some point. There’s been many highlights, but what’s been really cool 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.
“I’ve been really happy with mentoring out in the middle. I had an opportunity against the Stars to bat with [16-year-old] 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 holds the record for the most matches and most runs for the Sydney Thunder, men or women — said that the last-ball defeat to Brisbane Heat in the final last year was what drove her to keep going into a record 19th season.
“I was heartbroken, but also amazed, by last year’s semi-final,” Blackwell said. “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, and I’ve enjoyed supporting Rachael Haynes because I think she’s led the team very well.”
Blackwell is also Australia’s most capped international player and captained the team to the 2010 World T20 victory. She is now a member of the Cricket NSW board, becoming the first woman in the 160-year history of the organisation to do so.