Born on July 4th 1959 in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, Jan Brittin is arguably England’s greatest ever opening batter. After 27 Test matches with an average of just a tick under 50, you can’t ask much more of an opener.
Her debut for England was in an ODI match against the West Indies at Teddington in June 1979, alongside legendary players Enid Bakewell and Rachael Heyhoe Flint. Although England won Brittin didn’t get a bat. She made her Test debut later that same month and batting at seven, made 28 runs. It was the highest score she would make for the three Test series.
The 1982 World Cup was a similar tale. Very few opportunities batting behind Sue Goatman, Enid Bakewell, Chris Watmough, Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Megan Lear. Finally against the International XI a chance to open and Brittin put all of her batting talent on display with an unbeaten 138. Megan Lear was batting at the other end to share a partnership of 108. From that match onwards, Brittin was a fixture at the top of the England order.
Her next outing in white clothes was a Test against New Zealand in July 1984. A score of 144 not out said that she’s arrived in Test cricket as well as ODIs. A 96 in the next match opening with Lear, followed by 63 in the next match. She had truly arrived.
By 1998 and her swansong, against the Aussies, batting with new partner Charlotte Edwards, Brittin was unstoppable. 146 and 59 not out, then her highest score, 167 in the second Test.
In 27 Test matches, 1935 runs at 49.61, with 5 centuries and 11 half centuries. In 63 ODIs, 2121 runs at 42.42 with 5 centuries and 8 half centuries. Simply put, Jan Brittin was a run machine. Sadly she passed away at only 58 years of age in 2017.