Eileen Ash, the oldest living Test cricketer, has died at the age of 110, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Saturday. Ash played seven Tests for England on either side of the second world war, taking 10 wickets at an average of 23 with her right-arm pace bowling.
Ash was the oldest-ever Test cricketer at the time of her death having debuted against Australia in 1937. She was part of the Ashes tour of Australia in 1949 apart from playing representative cricket for Civil Service Women, Middlesex Women and South Women in the domestic arena.
"The England and Wales Cricket Board is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Eileen Ash at the age of 110," the ECB said in a statement. "Ash, who made her Test debut against Australia in 1937, was a remarkable woman who led an extraordinary life. A right-arm seamer, Ash (née Whelan) made her Test debut against Australia at Northampton in 1937 and went on to represent her country on seven occasions either side of World War II, retiring in 1949."
The London-born player rang the bell ahead of England Women's nail-biting victory over India in the 2017 World Cup final. Apart from her cricket career, Ash also worked for MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, during World War II.
Clare Connor, the former England cricketer, who currently serves as ECB's managing director of women's cricket and the MCC's president, mourned her demise.
"Our sport owes so much to its pioneers and Eileen was one of them. I am deeply sad to be saying goodbye to her today. Heather and I went to visit Eileen about six months before the 2017 ICC Women's World Cup – she was 105 at the time – and it was one of the most remarkable experiences," she said.