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When Charlotte Edwards was a girl, she decided that when she grew up she would play for the England men’s cricket team. She dreamed of doing it not because she wanted to break boundaries but because she did not realise that an England women’s team existed. “I just thought that men played cricket and I was an exception,” she says. “I thought when I was 10 that I would have to play for England men. And at China Stitched Jerseys that age I still thought I could: I had played all my cricket with boys and I was better than the boys, so I thought: ‘Well, that’s what I will do.’ Then I woke up.”Edwards has just turned 33 but a lot has changed in the time she has been playing cricket, thanks in part to her own exploits as England captain. Now one of her team-mates, Sarah Taylor, is about to start training with, and possibly playing for, Sussex’s men’s second XI. It is a testament to the 23-year-old Taylor’s talent, which Edwards describes as “immense but still unfulfilled”. She says Taylor’s is a “personal decision” and is quick to praise her for being prepared to move “out of her comfort zone” in the women’s game. But Edwards is clear: she is more worried about getting girls into Take Top-ranking Best Buy Cheap Super Bowl 47 XLVII Jerseys Wholesale Are Hot Sale Now! women’s cricket than she is women into the men’s game.Edwards played mixed cricket until she was 19. “I saw a real difference in the power aspect when I was about 15,” she remembers. “That’s when the boys started going past me. I was still competing with them but the boys were faster and stronger. So that was a turning point for me.” She had already made her England debut by that point, in 1996 when she was 16.Ten years later she was made captain of the side and since then she has led England to a string of victories, winning two Ashes series, a World Twenty20 title and the 50-over World Cup, which they are about to defend. The tournament starts in Mumbai on 31 January.England are in a pool with West Indies, whom Edwards describes as “a scary side”, the hosts India and Sri Lanka. “It is going to be our toughest test as a team to go out and win in India,” she says. “But it would also be our greatest achievement. And that’s what is motivating us.” She hopes it will motivate young players back in England, too.”I was 12 before I realised there was such a thing as women’s cricket,” Edwards says. “I saw the ’93 Women’s World Cup final on TV and that was the point for me. When I saw England lift the trophy I thought: ‘I want to do this and I will do this’.”She had been playing in a boys’ game that day but raced home to watch the final 15 overs after her match finished early. “I know what an impact that had on me, so I realise how important coverage is.” These days, she points out, a female player can come into the game at that age and have a clear pathway, from club to county to England Under-15, Under-19 and eventually the national side. “None of that existed when I was starting out.”England’s success and the exposure it has earned them has done a lot to lift their standing, though the disappointingly mixed reaction to the news about Taylor training with Sussex suggests that there is still some way to go yet. Still, support sometimes comes from surprising quarters. Edwards was recently appointed to MCC’s World Cricket Committee and found herself sitting near Geoffrey Boycott at her first meeting. “He was someone I thought probably wasn’t going to agree with me being on this committee, but he was brilliant. He was the one sat there saying: ‘Well, this lass needs more money.’ Which was great coming from someone like him, because we have obviously changed a lot of people’s perceptions in the last five years. It made me smile to hear him say that.”Better still than Boycott’s reaction, Edwards says, is the one she gets in schools around the country when she goes to work with the cricket charity Chance to Shine. “When I walk into a school, the kids don’t know the difference between me and Alastair Cook,” she says with a grin. “They just think we are both England captains. And it’s a great thing, to see their faces when I walk in. It is a feeling that will never be replaced.”Honestly? At times like that I don’t know if I would even want to be a professional cricketer. With the best will in the world, I sometimes look at the guys and think: ‘That must be really hard, being away for six months of the year.’ I love the variety in what I do. I think I have a Choose Shopping For New Cheap Wholesale 2013 Super Bowl Jerseys From China with 100% Quality Guarantee. really good life. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”Edwards sounds content and she is. She thinks the single most pressing issue facing women’s cricket is not whether the women should be playing or training with the men but simply getting more coverage in the media, not for the acclaim but because it will bring more girls into the game. “People say we should get more recognition and we should get more money, but if I was in it for the recognition and money I wouldn’t be playing cricket. We play it because we love what we do.”That is why, she says, she was able to laugh off the small scandal that blew up during the World Twenty20 last year, when it emerged BE131ZYH that the ICC was paying the women £37 per day in expenses and flying them around in economy, while the men were on £61 and flying business class. “We all understand that the guys bring the money to the game. To be honest, I felt so privileged just to be at that tournament that I would have paid to be there.”When Edwards made her England debut the players had to pay for their own blazers and wore a different branded shirt on every day of a Test because no one would sponsor them for more than 24 hours at a time. “I remind the girls of that all the time. I think it is really important to appreciate how far we have come.”

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