“Women’s cricket is slow, it’s boring, they can’t hit it hard.”
Really? Well Sussex and Southern Brave star Danni Wyatt has news for you.
After Birmingham Phoenix set 140-4 - one of the biggest totals of The Hundred so far – against Southern Brave at the Ageas Bowl last week, Wyatt displayed the sort of ‘no problem’ attitude that has made her one of England’s most uncompromising and brightest of stars.
The Hundred stage is ready made for players like Wyatt. Her engaging manner, her no-nonsense batting, her ability to steal wins when all seems lost.
And the Brave needed to pull something special out the bag to win their first home match last Friday night.
With Sophia Dunkley initially by her side Wyatt did just that.
The early wicket of Smriti Mandhana left them unmoved and the duo produced a fearless top-class partnership. What followed was boundary after boundary and six after six.
Dunkley’s agonising exit temporarily slowed the procession, in probably one of the worst ways to get out. A mis-field by Abtaha Maqsood onto the stumps sent Dunkley back to the dugout. Incredibly unlucky.
Losing is fine when you know what you did wrong, but the performance had been flawless and was headed towards a half-century. When circumstances are completely out of your control it makes it one of the toughest experiences a sportsperson can face.
Wyatt had no choice but to push on and take charge.
The game was still in Brave’s hands, thanks to Dunkley’s courageous innings. These athletes know they must take every opportunity at their fingertips, even in the most heart-breaking moments, because that’s what they are trained to do.
Six over deep square leg. Six over deep extra cover.
The sun was beaming over the wicket and the crowd roared in exhilaration with every smack off Wyatt’s bat. Each whack with the bat felt like another punch to the smug demeanour of every critic of women’s cricket.
Once again, in similar style to her knock of 89 not out against India two weeks back, Wyatt thrived under pressure and hit the Phoenix all over the park. A stellar performance, awarding her the Match Hero without a doubt. Most significantly another fabulous advert for the women’s game.
Something you may have missed though.
A very young girl is stood jumping and cheering in the stands of the Ageas Bowl as Wyatt finishes the game off with a six.
“I want to be like her” she shouts at her parents.
This girl has never played cricket before, her hands probably too small to even hold a full-size ball, but she has been inspired.
In a few years she might join her local women’s club, maybe reach county level.
Then with the new domestic structure she can advance to the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. She’ll hit a century and catch the eye of The Hundred selectors then England.
And then maybe she’ll be the next Danni Wyatt.
n Evie Ashton is part of The ECB’s Hundred Rising programme providing eight aspiring, young journalists the opportunity to tell the story of The Hundred men’s and women’s competitions through their own eyes.