There must be greater focus on the English grassroots game to build on the legacy of Charlotte Edwards, says the head of England women’s cricket.
Edwards, 36, retired on Wednesday and is the only player – man or woman – to captain England in 200 internationals.
“Grassroots is an area we’ve not taken enough care of recently,” said England women’s cricket director Clare Connor.
“We must make sure we look after every player and make sure they are as valued as Charlotte Edwards.”
Connor, herself a former England captain, added that the grassroots game would be “an area of investment” for the England and Wales Cricket Board “over the next few years” as they try to capitalise on the ‘Chance to Shine’ initiative, which has attracted 1.3 million female players to the game in the past decade.
The Women’s Super League is also scheduled to start in July and England will host the World Cup in 2017.
Speaking at the Women’s Sport Trust Awards, Connor told BBC Sport: “It’s no good just having an elite game.
“We have to think more broadly about how we make sure the inspiration of the England team connects with the next generation.
“We’ve seen huge growth in girls playing the game. The number of clubs is up by 600% over the past 10 years so the numbers are looking healthy.
“But we’ve got to become more strategic about how we convert those huge numbers into lifelong players. That doesn’t mean they all go on to play county cricket, or for England, but stay with clubs for a long time.”