Surrey and England legend Jan Brittin was inducted into the ICC’s Hall of Fame on Sunday ahead of the final of the men’s T20 World Cup.
A pioneer in the women’s game, Brittin played for England between 1979 and 1998, including 27 Tests and 63 ODIs. Her 1935 runs in Test cricket is still more than anyone else in the world and she became the first woman to reach 1000 runs for England in ODI cricket.
Born in Kingston-upon-Thames, Brittin grew up in Chessington and played for Surrey between 1981 and 1997. Following her retirement, Brittin remained close to the Club, coaching cricket at The Oval and around the county. She died of cancer in 2017, aged 58.
Her achievements are memorialised by the Club, with a room in her name on the top floor of the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion.
Brittin entered the Hall of Fame alongside Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardena and South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock, taking the total number of players inducted to 106.
Angela Bainbridge, friend of Janette Brittin said: “I would like to extend my thanks to the ICC for the incredible honour they have bestowed on Jan by inaugurating her into the Hall of Fame. I along with Jan’s parents Maggie and Kevin are incredibly proud of her and her achievements and this award recognises both the player and the person that she was. You could not wish to meet a more humble or talented player and she always gave 100% whether she played for club, county, or country.”
“Jan truly was a wonderful player and a fantastic role model for those that followed her. She would have loved to play in the professional forum that the girls enjoy today and would be proud of how they have all moved the game forward. It is sad that Jan is not able to collect this trophy herself, but her memory will live on.”
She joins Kumar Sangakkara, Bob Willis, Ricky Ponting, Anil Kumble, Ken Barrington, Peter May, Jack Hobbs, Jim Laker & Alec Bedser as inductees to have played for Surrey.
Below you’ll find a letter to Jan from Charlotte Edwards MBE.
To be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame is perhaps the biggest accolade you can have in the game. Being celebrated along with some of the greatest players is one of the things that you hope one day maybe you’ll experience. When I learned you were to join the list of names, I was just over the moon for you, because someone like you just has to be recognised and deserves that recognition – I couldn’t be happier.
Hearing the news made me smile as much as I have done in a long time and I couldn’t wait to write this letter to you. You are undoubtedly one of the greats of the game, and I feel so lucky and privileged to have played with you. It was an honour sharing the field with you for England, because you influenced me so much during the early part of my career, and a lot of what you did and what I witnessed has helped me in later years.
I idolised you if I’m honest. I watched you play in the World Cup in England, and I can’t forget my first ever game going to watch England was in Finchampstead when my dad took me to watch you play. That’s the first time I saw you live.
I was a bit of a geek growing up, and I’d heard so much about you, so I always knew that Jan Brittin was the best England batter of her generation, and since that day I first watched you score runs, I was just in awe of you.
Once I started playing, we would play against each other quite a bit in club cricket. Then in 1996, once I got called up to represent England, I had the absolute pleasure of opening the batting with you in my first Test match. I remember walking out to bat, and you always called me kiddo, and you said: ‘You take the first ball, kiddo.’ I don’t think as a 16-year-old you could have had any better compliment than that, just before you take the first ball in your first Test.
You gave me a huge amount of confidence and believed in me. For anyone, you always want your idol to live up to everything you hoped they would do when you’re growing up and you certainly did that. I just feel so lucky to have played and have learned from, in my opinion, the best.
You were just a great player, a great person, and someone who I hugely looked up to and it’s right that you held a number of records within the game. In fact you still hold a few – you are still England women’s leading Test run-scorer, and I don’t think you’ll ever be beaten.
I played in your last few matches in the Test series against Australia, perhaps my fondest memories of watching you play. Despite your broken finger, you battled through to play some of the best cricket I’ve seen, which emphasises the toughness of your character, and your quality right up to the very end. There was a real resilience around you that made you in my view England’s greatest batter and everything that I looked up to and wanted to be myself.
You were a great role model for me and someone I feel very fortunate to have played with at the back end of your career. Everyone I spoke to then, and since always talks about you with the utmost admiration. When we said our final goodbye to you at your funeral, seeing everyone there talking so fondly and telling us all the great stories about you confirmed your status as a legend on and off the field.
Around the world, you were one of the best. Winning the World Cup in 1993 I’m sure would be considered your biggest achievement. Top-scoring with 48 in the final was the crowning glory for you, and it was great to watch England during that wonderful year.
I can’t just talk about you as a batter however! You were a better fielder at 36 than I was at 16! You were just so fit and professional. I remember my first World Cup tour with you. It was the first time we wore trousers – we can probably thank you for that – and you took some wonderful catches being the excellent fielder you were. I’d like to say you were probably a generation too early really in terms of your approach to the game.
I often talk about you to some of the players I work with now. I’ve never forgotten what you did for me and I don’t think a lot of the players in my era have.
I’ve always looked back on you as the standout female cricketer. Rachael Heyhoe Flint is always rightly remembered as the pioneer, but I think you were the player everyone looked up to and wanted to be. I certainly did and I know a number of my peers did as well.
You were just so elegant to watch. I remember my dad loved watching you but then again, we all did, my whole family did. We used to go to games and I didn’t want to get you out!
Thank you for being you and living up to everything I wanted as my idol, to play three years with you was just the best and the best introduction to international cricket I could ever, ever have had.
Congratulations Jan, your memory will live on in us all.