Surrey’s Director of Women’s Cricket & ACE Programme Chair Ebony Rainford-Brent has spoken of the potential power of Sophia Dunkley’s arrival into Test cricket.
Dunkley became the first Black woman to play Test cricket for England when she was selected for this week’s one-off match with India in Bristol.
22-year-old Dunkley has played T20I matches for England but this is her first international red-ball fixture.
The Surrey all-rounder and ACE Programme ambassador enjoyed an excellent start to the season, scoring a century in her opening fixture for regional side South East Stars and has since been awarded a central contract.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Rainford-Brent said: “It’s a massive moment. I spoke to her mum and I’ve spoken to Heather [Knight, England captain]. She dropped me a note to say the news is going to happen and I sent over some words. It’s a really proud moment for so many reasons.
“One, from a performance perspective she’s been knocking down the door. She got a hundred straight out in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, runs and runs and runs. In the big picture of the context of the wider game, players talk about wanting to open it up.
“Her as a role model, especially for our ACE Programme and young kids everywhere. Young girls will look up to her.”
On her own debut, Dunkley herself said: ““I’m really, really proud – it’s a very special day and hopefully it has inspired a few boys and girls out there to pick up a cricket bat.”
Dunkley was a key member of the Surrey Stars team that won the Kia Super League in 2018, scoring crucial runs and taking a number of notable wickets with her leg-spin.
Rainford-Brent is not the only one excited by Dunkley’s arrival on the biggest stage, as these tweets show.
Sophia Dunkley is the first black woman to play Test cricket for England
— England’s Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) June 16, 2021