Women's cricket pioneer in Honours list

Former Australian cricket captain Lyn Larsen is a pioneer of the women's game.
Former Australian cricket captain Lyn Larsen is a pioneer of the women's game.

Lyn Larsen never thought she'd live to see the day.

During her esteemed women's cricket career, Larsen captained Australia to victory in the 1988 World Cup final at the MCG before about 3000 spectators.

Some 32 years later, Larsen sat in the MCG grandstand among a crowd of more than 86,000 people as Australia captured the women's Twenty20 World Cup.

"I didn't think I would ever see this," Larsen told AAP.

"And if it was ever going to happen, I didn't think it would happen in my lifetime."

Larsen has been appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The same honour has been bestowed on other sporting identities including Glenn Bourke (sailing), Bruno Cullen (rugby league), Norman Farmer (life saving) and Julie Fitzgerald (netball) while former Australian men's cricket captain Michael Clarke has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

For Larsen, who also served as a team manager and selector, her latest recognition came as a surprise almost as large as the recent growth in her beloved sport.

"A lot of people say 'you probably wish you were playing now' and I say 'I don't'," said Larsen, who played 15 Tests and 49 one-day internationals from 1984-94.

"When we did it, we had jobs - cricket wasn't our job.

"The really nice thing about the (T20 World Cup) final - apart from the crowd and the atmosphere and it went according to script, it was perfect - was catching up with all of the old players in the stands, players I hadn't seen for 30-odd years.

"There was no-one there who was resentful, it was just a genuine pride of where the game is at ... everyone was acknowledging we played our little part in that stepping stone to getting it where it is today."

Larsen became besotted with sport growing up at Tuntable Creek in northern NSW, where she still lives on her family's macadamia farm.

"We had a lot of backyard cricket here with my father and brother," she said.

"And my grandfather was a keen cricketer around the Nimbin area so every time we would go over there, it was always cricket out the front of an old mandarin tree."

Sport was also prominent at Tuntable Creek Primary School, where she was one of about 15 students.

"Sport was just an integral part of life growing up. And cricket just seemed to unfold, one thing led to another, and I ended up achieving the ultimate," she said.

"That was never on the agenda at the outset, it was always a case of just playing.

"And then when I found there was a women's comp in Lismore, I just filled in one day."

Larsen, an allrounder, rates the 1988 World Cup triumph as a career highlight as well as her first Test as captain in England in 1987 - a victory which propelled a series win as Australia became the first women's team to defeat England on English soil.

Australian Associated Press