Jenny Gunn has become the first cricketer ever – male or female – to play 100 IT20s.
The England Women’s all-rounder reached her ton in Sunday’s tri-series victory over India in Mumbai, 14 years after she made her debut in 2004.
Before the game she was presented with a cap by former teammate Isa Guha, who gave a speech praising her work rate, ability to evolve and the example she sets to younger players.
It’s an example that Gunn still sets to this day, haring around the boundary, hitting long and tying batters in knots with her much-discussed “whiff”, which is essentially a slower-slower ball.
Much has changed since her debut, not least the totals being scored. In her first appearance New Zealand posted 131, a score that England were unable to chase.
It’s a far cry from England’s record-breaking chase in Sunday’s game, in which Danni Wyatt scored a 52-ball ton in chasing down 198/4.
For Gunn it’s been a journey she was never expecting to go on – having wanted to play football as a kid – but it’s one that she’s immensely enjoying.
“We were having a discussion with some of the youngsters in our team and they were asking me when I debuted in IT20s,” said Gunn.
“It was back in 2004, and a few of the girls were only five years old. That’s pretty much an idea of how long I’ve been playing cricket!”
The fact that Gunn’s landmark comes before any men’s cricketer is in part because women played IT20s before men.
“It was good to play before the men. It showed people what women’s cricket could do,” she explained.
“Women’s IT20 cricket has changed – there are a lot more sixes and a lot more skills involved now. You have to be smarter when you’re bowling and there are people in the field diving, and taking catches.
“I think it’s become more exciting to watch and I think that’s why we’re standing alone.”
Gunn lists the 2009 ICC Women’s World T20 semi-final victory over Australia at the Kia Oval as a career highlight, while Elysse Perry is the batter she names as the toughest to bowl at.
At just 31 there are hopefully still highlights to come, but she is aware of just how special it is to have reached her ton. “I just want to play cricket for England, I still enjoy playing with the Three Lions on.”
“It was special to see the three girls make their debut the other day and I didn’t know I was the first to reach 100 IT20 caps. It's pretty amazing.”
“It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it – it's such an honour. I didn't think I was going to play for 14 years.
“In 2004 we just walked out to make our debuts in Twenty20. Who would have thought that it would catch on and take the world by storm? It's a huge honour and one that nobody can take away from me.”