Our First Lady of cricket
TALK about exalted company.
Steve Waugh, Arthur Morris, Richie Benaud, Bob Simpson, Sir Don ... the list goes on.
Now, Lismore’s own NSW and Australian captain, Lyn Larsen, can be added to a roll call of just 17 cricketers who appear in the Cricket NSW Hall of Fame.
Inducted to the illustrious list at the weekend along with Mark Waugh and the late Stan McCabe, Larsen, 47, will stand forever as a great of NSW and Australian cricket.
Add Mark Taylor, Victor Trumper, Alan Davidson, Ray Lindwall and Belinda Clark, and the Hall of Fame reads like ‘Who’s who’ of Blues cricket.
“It is amazing company to be in,” Larsen said.
“I am pretty shocked to be among those names, but I will happily accept the accolade.”
One of those names, former Australian all-rounder, Alan Davidson, shocked Larsen when he sought her out to congratulate her on the recognition.
“I was blown away,” she said.
“Mr Davidson and I had a lovely chat about cricket in my day, cricket in his day; it was very special.”
Larsen’s career spanned across 11 years; she became the nation’s youngest captain at just 22 and went on to lead Australia through 10 Test matches undefeated as well as winning nine of 11 one-day series.
She scored 410 Test runs at an average of 41 and took 26 wickets at 18.7 while conceding just 1.4 runs per over.
Larsen’s record stands as the most successful captain in the history of Australian women’s cricket.
“I think it was a golden era for us and I was lucky enough to be part of it,” she said.
“We had a lot of great players who helped to put my statistics as captain in a good light.”
In an age where international cricket was far less abundant, Larsen saw all corners of the world with her baggy green her passport.
She played everywhere from Delhi to Dublin, Worcester to Wellington and Christchurch to Chennai.
The girl from Lismore even graced the home of cricket – Lord’s.
“That was a truly memorable moment,” she said.
“Rain reduced the amount of time we spent on the field at Lord’s but to get on the surface there was something special.”
Regarded as an astute tactician of the game, Larsen, true to form, said team success ahead of personal achievements were highlights of her career.
Three momentous wins stand above all others.
“Winning the World Cup final at the MCG in 1988; my first Test as captain in England in 1987 which we won by an innings; and the very first five-day women’s Test match against England in 1992 where we took the last wicket seconds before a torrential downpour,” Larsen recalled.
Today, Larsen enjoys watching young stars on the rise. One in a similar mould to Larsen is Knockrow’s leg-spinning all-rounder, Angela Reakes.
“Angela is probably more of a leg-spinner than I ever was,” she said.
“She gives it a real rip whereas I was more of a land-it-on-the-spot-and-hope type bowler.”
That is Larsen typically underselling herself.
Lismore cricket’s first lady took 50 wickets for her country in a glittering career which was duly capped with admission to the Cricket NSW Hall of Fame.