Super League: Charlotte Edwards motivated by new challenge

By Kalika MehtaBBC Sport
Charlotte Edwards on Southern Vipers
Kia Super League
Group stage: 30 July - 14 August Finals Day: 21 August (Chelmsford)
Coverage: BBC Test Match Special commentary on seven group games, plus Finals Day; additional coverage on BBC local radio

Former England captain Charlotte Edwards feels the Super League has been a "blessing in disguise" for her since retiring from international cricket.

Having captained England in over 200 matches, Edwards brought an end to her 20-year international career in May.

The 36-year-old will now lead the Southern Vipers as the tournament gets under way on Saturday.

"If I had just retired and not had an immediate focus I would have struggled," Edwards told BBC Sport.

"It would have been a very big gap to fill, as county cricket does not have any training programmes in place.

Charlotte Edwards
Edwards played for Perth Scorchers in the inaugural Women's Big Bash League

"With the Vipers we have two training sessions a week and a fitness and conditioning coach so I haven't really missed much from not being in the England set-up."

Edwards has spent the summer living with Vipers team-mate and New Zealand captain Suzie Bates and said being surrounded by top quality cricketers had kept her motivated.

While the women's game has grown a huge amount since the Huntingdon-born player's England debut in 1996, the Kent batter feels the Super League is one of the biggest developments to date.

Southern Vipers' matches at the Ageas Bowl
Sunday, 31 July: (H) v Surrey Stars
Monday, 8 August: (H) v Yorkshire Diamonds
Sunday, 14 August: (H) v Loughborough Lightning

The Super Fours - a limited-overs tournament played annually and designed to bring together the best 48 female English cricketers - preceded the Super League but it was a competition Edwards felt could not be sustained.

"The KSL is brilliant as it will further prepare our England players for international cricket as well as expose many young girls to high level cricket," she added.

"So often women's cricket in this country is judged by internationals and how the international team do but I think people can form an identity with the Super League teams.

"Hopefully it can grow women's cricket not just at international but grassroots level too."

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