Belinda Clark

Born on 10th September 1970 in Newcastle, New South Wales, former Australian Test, ODI and T20I captain, Belinda Clark spent many an hour honing her skills in the backyard.

 “I had no idea that I would be able to take my fascination with the game outside the backyard. In fact it wasn’t until I went to high school that I realized that I would have an opportunity to actually play in a real game. All the hours spent in the backyard and in the school nets became very valuable platform of skill development for me.”

Her debut for NSW in 1990/1 led to a debut for Australia in the same season, opening the batting with Belinda Haggett.

One minute I was playing for NSW, the next for Australia and life was just one big cricket match for me at that time.”

A century on debut against India at North Sydney Oval for the first Test. Clark was the first wicket when Australia was 178 in the first innings. Clark had made 104. Her skipper Lyn Larsen had suggested “doing a Mark Waugh” – scoring a century in her first Test innings. She certainly did that.

That debut Test innings, and the rate at which she scored, was a sign of things to come. Clark upped the tempo of scoring and at a time when ODI cricket was coming to the fore she was a perfect fit. She played 118 ODI matches in all, scoring 4844 runs at 47.49, with five centuries and thirty half centuries. One of those centuries the first double century ever scored by anyone in an ODI, 229 not out against Denmark in the World Cup of 1997.

In 1994/95 Clark took over from Larsen as Australian Test captain. Her eleven Tests as skipper is a record for Australia. She was also the ODI captain, leading Australia in 101 matches (also a record), winning 83. Along the way, World Cup victories in 1997 and 2005. She played one T20I in 2005, the first Australian captain in that format.

Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1998; inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2011; inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2011; the first female player inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame 2014. There are other achievements, including her work with Cricket Australia, far too many to mention.

Life was, and still is “one big cricket match”.

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