Australia’s legend Alex Blackwell has announced her retirement from the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League, drawing curtains on her 18-years of playing career. The 36-year-old Australian cricketer, who stepped down away from international cricket a couple of years ago, now represents Sydney Thunder. She has confirmed that the ongoing domestic season would be her 19th and last. Fresh from a match-winning innings for the Sydney Thunder that kept alive their finals hopes for this year’s competition, Blackwell will play the final regular-season match this Sunday against the Melbourne Renegades.
After the match which was played yesterday at Manuka Oval, she confirmed to her teammates, “I’d decided before the match that I was going to retire, who sits in seventh place on the WBBL’s all-time highest run-scorers’ list. “It’s got to come to an end at some point.”
This was my best ever performance with the bat for Australia. Being a part of a world record 10th wicket partnership with @DJbimmy is one of my all time proudest moments. She was the rock! I’m sad to say goodbye to my Aus teammates. Wishing them luck for the India tour in March https://t.co/GDXiaouTlV
— Alex Blackwell (@AlexBlackwell2) February 19, 2018
Continuing with her statement she said, “There have been many highlights, but what’s been really cool is watching the next generation of Thunder players grabbing their opportunities. It’s been very special to be a part of that – I’m really satisfied. I’ve been really happy with the role of mentoring out in the middle. I had an opportunity against the Stars to bat with Phoebe Litchfield and Saskia Horley. It was good to talk to them about what the good options were to go to – and to help clarify in their minds what was on, and where to back themselves.”
Blackwell has been leading the Thunder to the inaugural WBBL title in 2015-16, her greatest achievement with the club, having pulled stumps on a 251-game international career in February 2018. She was part of Australia’s World Cup wins in 2005 and 2013 and captained the team to their first T20 World Cup title in the Caribbean in 2010, while also being part of their winning XIs in 2012 and 2014. She also holds the record for the most matches and most runs for Sydney Thunder, men or women, with 71 matches and 1,751 runs at an average of 35.02 to her name so far. She admitted the heartbreak of last summer’s WBBL finals series in which Thunder was beaten on the final ball by the Brisbane Heat, prompting her to have one more season.
“I was heartbroken, but also amazed, by last year’s semi-final,” said Blackwell. “I … well, a little bit selfishly … thought to myself, ‘I’ve worked so hard to get to this point and contributed to cricket for a long period of time for it to reach this point’.
“It’s been good fun, and I’ve enjoyed supporting Rachael Haynes because I think she’s led the team very well,” she said.