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Last Updated: Monday, 2 January 2006, 11:50 GMT
Clare Connor Q&A

After receiving an OBE in the New Year Honour's list, England captain Clare Connor spoke to BBC Sport about the outlook for women's cricket in 2006.

Clare Connor
The 2005 season was a memorable one for England's men and women
Q. Having won the women's Ashes in 2005, you must be looking forward to the year ahead, especially with a game at Lord's in the schedule.

A. Absolutely. We haven't played at Lord's since 2001 when we got absolutely thrashed by Australia, so the opportunity to play there again is one we'll all relish.

After a tough winter tour to India, the girls are chomping at the bit to get India over here and play them on home turf.

Q. You didn't go on the tour because of injury and Laura Newton and Katherine Brunt had to return home early. How do you think England did overall?

A. It was a freak tour by the sound of it. For some games there were only eight of them fit to warm up. There was a lot of illness and injuries and you just can't compete when you're that depleted.

I think they showed real character. They showed a lot of resolve, a lot of team spirit, against an Indian team who have really come on.

Players were thrust into new roles because of illness and injuries and I think that was good for them and hopefully, even though they lost 4-1, the experiences some of those young girls have gone through will stand them in good stead.

The scoreline is important - winning is everything - but equally important is how the team develops and how the team responds to tough situations.

Clare Connor
I haven't picked a bat up since September
Q. How is your injury progressing?

A. Quite slowly, if I'm honest. I've got two injuries, which are both chronic and hard to fix.

The main one which stopped me touring is a bone spur in my ankle, which is getting to the point where I may need an operation, and (I have) a really nasty tennis elbow which I had throughout the summer and had to have injections to get through the series against Australia.

It's been quite a touch cycle of injections and playing and rehab over the last eight, 10 months and I haven't picked a bat up since September because I can't do it.

Q. One hears about McGrath and Flintoff needing surgery for bone spurs and Tendulkar and Kallis have elbow problems, so you must be quite worried?

A. In cricket at the moment, they seem to be the two most fashionable injuries to have and I've got them both at the same time, which isn't ideal!

Unlike the men, who can devote every day to getting fit again, I'm working full-time and the specialist I need to see for my elbow is over in Eastbourne and the guys I have seen over the year about my ankle are up at Loughborough.

It is frustrating because I can't just commit all my time to getting fit again. I have to earn a living.

India's Jaya Sharma
India a lot fitter, a lot more organised and more disciplined than Indian teams I've played against
Q. Also in 2005, women's cricket was integrated into the ICC. As part of that ongoing development there's a women's Asia Cup going on at the moment, which is very encouraging, isn't it?

A. It's great. Pakistan and Sri Lanka need to get stronger and be playing more regularly, so it's fantastic for the development of the game over there. And probably, a consequence will be that the game will become even more enormous in India.

Who knows where the game will go as a result of the takeover by the ICC. Maybe it will become more semi-professional, I certainly think it will in Asia.

Q. Finally, with the women's Ashes success and the award to you of an OBE, what else can be done to raise the profile of the England women's team in 2006?

A. Everything is in place in terms of a good domestic structure, there are lots of girls playing the game in schools and clubs and the Chance to Shine project should also boost numbers.

There's no more the players can do, we're as committed as we can be. We've just got to have more media coverage.

Last year we went on They Think It's All Over and if we can find a way into children's TV or magazines, it will help raise awareness and show girls cricket is a viable option and it's great fun.

When I think of the 10 years I've had in women's cricket, it's been an amazing decade for me, finishing with the Ashes win and this incredible honour.

The opportunities for girls are immense but they've got to know about them and the way they get to know about them is through media support.

Clare Connor column
05 Nov 05 |  Women's cricket
Connor delighted by historic win
27 Aug 05 |  Women's cricket
England triumph in Women's Ashes
27 Aug 05 |  Women's cricket
Women's Ashes 2005
02 Sep 05 |  Future tour dates


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