Anya Shrubsole, so instrumental in helping England win the 2017 World Cup, announced her international retirement on this day two years ago.

Shrubsole took 227 wickets in 173 matches in all formats in a distinguished 14-year career for England, where she was part of two Ashes-winning sides and hoisted aloft the 50-over World Cup in 2009 and 2017.

Her finest hour undoubtedly came at Lord’s in the 2017 World Cup final against India, which was in the balance before she tipped the scales decisively in England’s favour with stellar figures of six for 46.

As well as collecting player of the match, she finished the tournament as England’s leading wicket-taker with 12 dismissals and earlier hit the winning runs in a tense semi-final against South Africa.

The seam bowler took nine wickets in eight matches in England’s defence of the title in 2022, including another star turn in the final but her three for 46 was in vain as Australia regained the trophy.

“I feel immensely privileged to have been able to represent my country for the past 14 years,” said Shrubsole, the first woman to grace the front cover of the prestigious Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

“To have been involved in women’s cricket at a time of such growth has been an honour but it has become clear to me that it is moving forward faster than I can keep up with, so it is time for me to step away.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be lucky enough to play for England for so long, I’d have been happy with one game.

“There have been many ups and downs along the way but it was all worth it to be able to lift the ICC Women’s World Cup at Lord’s in 2017.”

Shrubsole retires as England’s leading Twenty20 wicket-taker with 102 dismissals while she is fourth in the country’s all-time list in one-day internationals, having taken 106 scalps at an average of 26.53.

She memorably took a hat-trick at the 2018 T20 World Cup against South Africa before England were again denied by Australia in the final.

After bowing out of England duty, the then 30-year-old continued to play domestically before calling it quits altogether at the end of the 2023 summer.

England were crowned Women’s World Cup winners for a fourth time on this day in 2017 after they beat India by nine runs in a thrilling final at Lord’s.

Nat Sciver-Brunt’s half-century helped the hosts post 228 for seven from their 50 overs in front of a bumper crowd at the home of cricket.

Opener Punam Raut looked set to lead India home as they reached 191 for three, but Anya Shrubsole dismissed her 14 runs short of a century and went on to finish with figures of six for 46 to bowl England to victory.

The final had been a repeat of the second match of the tournament, which India won by 35 runs, but Heather Knight’s team went on to win their remaining six group fixtures to top the standings and progress into the last four of the competition.

It set up a semi-final meeting with South Africa and England chased down 219 thanks a run-a-ball 27 not out from Jenny Gunn.

Knight won the toss and decided to bat first in the final, with Lauren Winfield-Hill (24) and Tammy Beaumont (23) helping England make a strong start before Sarah Taylor joined forces with Sciver-Brunt in a vital 83-run partnership for the third wicket.

Taylor was dismissed for 45 and Sciver-Brunt went for 51, but Katherine Sciver-Brunt smashed 34 down the order alongside Gunn’s important unbeaten 25 to set India 229 for victory.

India opener Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur, who was out for 51, moved their nation into a position of strength, but Shrubsole sparked a dramatic finale with a sensational spell of bowling.

Raunt was pinned in front lbw for 86 to leave India on 191 for four with 38 more runs required from 43 balls.

The pressure proved too much with Shrubsole dismissing Veda Krishnamurthy, Jhulan Goswami, Deepti Sharma and finally Rajeshwari Gayakwad to earn England home success in the 11th World Cup.

Former England international Anya Shrubsole announced she will retire from playing at the end of the season after helping Southern Vipers beat The Blaze by seven wickets to lift the Charlotte Edwards Cup for the second year in a row.

The Vipers player-coach, a World Cup winner in 2017, was named player of the match after taking two for 24, having removed both of the The Blaze’s openers before bad weather stopped play on Saturday night.

A half-century from Danni Wyatt helped wrap up a comprehensive victory on Sunday, and it marked a turning point for Shrubsole, who said afterwards it was her last game for the Vipers as she will retire from playing after The Hundred.

“It’s hard to put an exact date on when I made the decision,” the 31-year-old said. “Through the course of this tournament it just became clear to me that my time was up.

“I carried on playing because I really enjoy playing, but I guess the pain element of it – if I’m being totally honest – made it not particularly enjoyable at times, so in lots of ways it was a pretty easy decision to call it a day at the end of this year.

“I told my team-mates on Friday night. I didn’t see it playing out like this, I told the girls because I wanted them to know but I didn’t think they’d make it really obvious.

“I feel very lucky to have played the last few seasons with this group, because they’re an exceptional team and an exceptional bunch of people.”

Shrubsole retired from international cricket last year, but has continued to play for Berkshire, the Vipers and Southern Brave.

She came through the ranks at Somerset and earned her first England call up as a teenager in 2008, going on to eight Tests, 86 ODIs and 79 T20 matches.

Southern Brave captain Anya Shrubsole predicts women’s cricket is on a path to full professionalisation within a few years.

The former England bowler took six for 46 against India to steer her side to a thrilling nine-run World Cup victory in front of a sold-out Lord’s in 2017, arguably the most memorable moment in her impressive 14-year international career.

The women’s game has accelerated exponentially since then, particularly with the debut of The Hundred in 2021 and, this year, the inaugural Women’s Premier League in India.

“The professionalism is the biggest change,” Shrubsole told the PA news agency.

“Previously you would only be a professional cricketer if you played for England, and then apart from that it was semi-professional, almost a hobby, but you’re asking these players to train as if they’re professional.

“So to have the eight regional teams all with a minimum of 10 professionals, you add the England girls to that, that’s 100 professional female cricketers in this country, all in the last three years, which is just incredible really in such a short space of time and that will keep growing.

“I think it will probably only be a couple of years until we see a fully professional squad across all the regional teams. That’s the thing that’s been the real big difference.”

The two-time World Cup and Ashes winner, 31, stepped down from international duty in April 2022 after earning 173 caps for England across all formats and taking 227 wickets.

The pace bowler still plays domestically for Berkshire, Southern Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy as a player-coach, and is set to skipper Southern Brave in The Hundred for a third straight season.

Last Saturday saw a world record crowd for a women’s international rugby fixture, 58,498, turn out to watch the Red Roses at Twickenham, two days before Arsenal played their Women’s Champions League semi-final in front of a sold-out 60,063 at the Emirates – a record audience for a women’s club match in England.

On Wednesday, it was announced this month’s women’s FA Cup final will be played in front of a sold-out Wembley for the first time.

Cricket looks to be the next to benefit from the trend driving people to box offices for women’s sport in unprecedented numbers.

More than 66,000 tickets have been snapped up for England women’s fixtures in 2023, already exceeding the total attendance for all 2022 matches, while sales for July’s Ashes have already surpassed figures for the previous two women’s series against Australia combined.

The series finale at Taunton is already sold out, with England hoping to secure the trophy for the first time since 2014.

Shrubsole said: “Yes, you look at the record number of ticket sales but that’s at big grounds as well that England women haven’t played at for a long time.

“The Test match at Trent Bridge, playing at the Oval, playing at Lord’s, the girls are really looking forward to that opportunity to show what they can do on the big stage.

“It’s going to be really hard fought. It’s obviously an England team that’s probably still transitioning a little bit in certain areas, obviously a new coach that’s only been in the role six months, quite a young but very exciting bowling attack. They’re going to have to be at their best.”

ECB organisers hope the Ashes enthusiasm spills over to The Hundred when its third season opens on August 1.

This is the first year the hugely popular women’s Hundred implemented a draft like the men’s competition – something Shrubsole, who was relieved to find herself back in a Brave uniform, agreed was another step forward.

She said: “I think where women’s cricket is going, how much it’s grown, all of those kind of things are just incredible.

“To be in a position to be able to do a draft for the women’s Hundred, to be able to do an auction for the WPL, it’s really incredible and it adds a different dimension. It’s all really exciting.”

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