Rene Farrell, the former Australia fast bowler, joined Alex Blackwell and Kristen Beams in announcing her retirement from the Women’s Big Bash League following the exits of their sides from the latest edition of the T20 tournament on Sunday.
Sydney Thunder’s Blackwell, Australia’s most-capped woman cricketer, and Beams, who turned out for Melbourne Stars since the tournament took off in 2015-16, had announced their decision to finish up earlier, and Farrell joined Blackwell in a post-match guard of honour after the Thunder lost to the Melbourne Renegades in their last match of the season.
Farrell, 32, made her Australia debut in an ODI against New Zealand in Darwin in July 2007 and played three Test matches, 44 ODIs and 54 T20Is over the years, her last outing in national colours coming in March 2017, again in an ODI against New Zealand, in Mount Maunganui. She finished with 114 international wickets.
Though she won’t play in the WBBL again, Farrell will continue to play for New South Wales Breakers.
“I still have 50-overs cricket with the NSW Breakers. Hopefully I can go out on a high there like we did for Alex’s career and winning that [after announcing her retirement from state cricket last year],” Farrell, who picked up 79 wickets in 66 games for the Thunder over the years, said. “I have a bit of cricket left, [but this send off with Sydney Thunder] was really special.”
The Thunder website said that Blackwell had invited Farrell to join her in the farewell, joined by players from her team, as well as from the Renegades, Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat, who were all in action at Melbourne’s Junction Oval.
“It was lovely of Al [Blackwell] to invite me to enjoy that moment… very special,” Farrell said. “My reputation is gone now, I had a few tears on TV, but it is special.”
It wasn’t a particularly memorable outing for Farrell on the field, though, as she conceded 33 runs in four wicketless overs before scoring 14* in 12 balls in a 29-run defeat. Blackwell, too, didn’t have a good time of it, run out for 1 in the failed chase for the Thunder.
“I couldn’t have that send off without sharing it with her,” Blackwell said of the joint farewell. “She’s been an absolute legend of the game; really valuable – especially in T20. She’s a big loss, a wonderful character. She’s been an incredible servant of the game and it’s easy to get emotional when you think of her contribution.”
Beams, too, had a bad day at work, conceding 14 runs in her only over as the Heat beat the Stars by eight wickets. She picked up just wickets this season in eight bowling innings for the Stars.
“I’ve loved the last five years with the Melbourne Stars and being part of the Stars family,” Beams told the team’s website. “To see the WBBL grow from the first year of competition to what it is now has been a fantastic journey.”
The 35-year-old legspinner played one Test, 30 ODIs and 18 T20Is for Australia since making her debut in an ODI against Pakistan in Brisbane in August 2014, last turning out for the national team in an ODI against England in Coffs Harbour in October 2017. She picked up 62 international wickets, and was a one-team player at the WBBL, having been with the Stars since the start of the league.