After 71 matches and 1752 runs, Alex Blackwell has called time on her career with the Sydney Thunder in the Women's Big Bash League. This will mark the end of Blackwell's elite cricket career, which has spanned 18 years, and on top of her matches for Thunder includes 139 matches for NSW and 251 matches for Australia.
One of Australia’s most successful ever cricketers, Alex Blackwell played 12 Test matches, 144 One Day Internationals and 95 T20 Internationals for her country. Third on the list of Australia’s one-day run scorers behind Belinda Clark and Karen Rolton, Blackwell is second in T20 runs for Australia behind only Meg Lanning.
Blackwell is the most capped player in Australian women’s cricket history, and is also regarded as one of the greatest cricketers NSW has ever produced. She has won 14 Women’s National Cricket League titles, three domestic T20 titles and five World Cups.
A vocal advocate for equality, Blackwell has been at the forefront during a time of rapid change for the women’s game that has brought increased pay and professionalism. In 2015, she quit her job as a genetic counsellor to become one of Australia’s first full-time female players.
A gradudate of UNSW's School of Medicine, Blackwell has been a passionate member of the UNSW sporting community, balancing her elite cricket commitments with coaching the Under 15s Women's Premier team for the Universities club and regularly attending and speaking at UNSW events.
Earlier this year, Blackwell was awarded the university's highest honour, Doctor of the University (honoris causa), for eminent service to society by advancing important causes.
I first joined the @UNSW community in 2002 as a medical student. Yesterday I was awarded the University’s highest honour - Doctor of the University (honoris causa), for eminent service to society by advancing important causes. I am extremely honoured #equalopportunity #inclusion pic.twitter.com/AuxQ5vIx1m— Alex Blackwell (@AlexBlackwell2) August 29, 2019
Blackwell told sydneythunder.com.au that she was inspired to play one last season after the Thunder's incredible semi final against the Brisbane Heat last season, where they lost on the last ball of the match when the Heat's Haidee Birkett took the catch of the season to dismiss Nicola Carey.
"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’.
“I thought the WBBL was an amazing competition to be a part of and decided I could go again – and I’m pleased I did. It’s been good fun, and I've enjoyed supporting Rachael Haynes because I think she's led the team very well.”
Blackwell leaves the game after years of fighting for inclusion - from better pay and conditions for female athletes through to creating a more inclusive space for people from diverse cultures, sexual orientations and gender identities. She has been an exemplary role model for young athletes and has left elite cricket in a much better place than it was when she began.
As a sign of the UNSW community's appreciation to Alex we ask that this weekend, everyone playing or attending sporting matches throughout the UNSW community adds a touch of lime green to celebrate Alex's career for the Sydney Thunder. Whether it's a ribbon in the hair, a hat, lime green zinc or shoelaces, take a photo of yourself or your team and post to Instagram using #UNSWThanksAlex and we will share on our social media channels.