Miriam Knee

Miriam Knee was the sixth Test cricket captain of Australia and the first ODI captain. She led Australia in the first World Cup, in 1973.

Born 19th January 1938 in Ringwood, Victoria, former Test and ODI captain for Australia, Miriam Knee was a talented allrounder and a feature of the dominant Victoria team during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Her right arm medium/spin bowling was her main discipline, handy left handed batter and an excellent fielder, particularly in the slips.  

In 1958 Miriam came under the eye of former Test cricketer turned coach, Nell McLarty. In the same year as receiving the coaching from McLarty, Miriam Knee was selected to represent Victoria and her bowling came to prominence when she took 7/8 against Queensland.

She coached a lot of people in Victoria. I think she even gave a hint to Bill Lawry as well. She had a lot of influence. Even Betty Wilson came to Nell and asked for help, but later denied it, but I assure you, I saw it with my own eyes.”

It was a changing of the guard in Victoria. Una PaisleyUna Paisley was nearing the end of her career, as was Betty Wilson. Una was a stickler for protocol.

“I can remember Una Paisley saying to us when we went out, ‘girls, make sure your socks are correct. You must not touch them when you are on the ground’.”

Mim played in her debut Test in 1961 under the captaincy of Muriel Picton, also making her debut, against New Zealand at Dunedin. Mim took 2-53 and 2-28 in the drawn Test.

On the tour of England in 1963, Mim was the leading wicket taker for the series (for either team) with 16 wickets at 14.25 with a best of 5-35.

In 1968/9 at home for three Tests against England, another five wicket haul in Adelaide and four runs short of a century in Melbourne. Coming in at 4/29 she scored 96.

I did fall for the full toss and tried to hit it over the fielder’s head, but was caught at deep mid-off. I didn’t feel anything at all. I was fighting for the team. I was so thrilled to fight for the team.”

In 1971/2 Miriam Knee became Australia’s sixth Test captain when she led the team against the touring New Zealand under Trish McKelvey. It was a Test Australia should have won, given that they bowled New Zealand out for just 89. The visitors rallied in the second innings, setting Australia 295 to win. They fell short.

What happened to cause such a dramatic turnaround?

Put simply, I made a mistake. I left the spinners on too long.” – Miriam Knee in a harsh but frank assessment.

We were flogged.” – fast bowler Tina Macpherson, even harsher.

It was Mim’s last Test match and she finished with 319 runs at 26.58 average, with 35 wickets at 16.28.

Mim still has some international cricket to go. She is the first captain of the Australian women’s ODI team and the first Australian, man or woman, to lead the team in a World Cup. Had their game against the International XI not been washed out, Mim would also have been the first Australian skipper to lift the trophy. As it turns out the final fixture against England was a quasi-final and the hosts won handsomely. After the cup Mim was selected as captain of the combined team to play England.

Australia should be proud of Miriam Knee for her integrity, her knowledge, of leading the Australian team to a near win of the first World Cup of Women’s Cricket.” – Lorna Thomas, team Manager

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