Already a proud member of both the ICC and Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, the honour is another feather in what has deservedly become an overcrowded cap since Rolton’s on-field retirement.
A true champion of the game, the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to Rolton’s remarkable achievements, but as is so often the case, they don’t tell the full story.
In 114 Women’s National Cricket League games with the Scorpions, Rolton amassed 5521 runs at an average of 56.92, including 14 centuries and 41 half-centuries. Each of those preceding numbers place the thrilling left-handed batter as the benchmark for South Australian cricketers.
Not only does Rolton hold the highest score for a Scorpion with 173, she holds the six highest scores, spanning a timeframe from 1998 – 2010. In addition, Rolton took 106 wickets at an average of 18.36, again the best of any Scorpion in both categories.
That level of performance continued onto the international stage, with Rolton representing Australia in 14 Test matches, 141 One-Day Internationals and 14 Twenty20 Internationals. Across those three formats, Rolton averaged 55.56, 48.14 and 50.62. She also captained Australia from 2006 to 2009.
Karen Rolton is a truly unbelievable talent.
One of Rolton’s finest moments, and there were many, came in a Test Match against England at Headingly when the explosive batter plundered an undefeated 209, at the time the highest Test score in the history of women’s cricket.
Add into that more than 100 wickets in national colours, and it becomes immediately apparent why the most prestigious Hall of Fame’s in world sport are lining up to welcome Karen Rolton to the club.
Making her national debut in 1995, Rolton played vital roles in two World Cup winning campaigns, most notably the 2005 tournament. Named Player of the Match in the Final after scoring an unbeaten century, Rolton went on to be crowned the inaugural ICC Women’s Player of the Year in 2006.
That prized award currently rests proudly within a packed trophy cabinet alongside four Belinda Clarke Awards, the prestigious title recognising Australia’s best women’s international cricketer. Rolton won the inaugural award in 2002 and followed it up with others in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
In a fitting tribute to a genuine champion, the beautiful sporting venue in the Adelaide parklands was redeveloped and unveiled in 2018 as Karen Rolton Oval.
Speaking at the opening of the new venue, Rolton beamed with joy.
‘It’s such a fantastic honour. It’s really weird to see my name actually up on the building. It’s such a fantastic development now, and something I’m really proud of.’
In an interview with Michael Sexton, conducted for a story to grace the pages of ‘150: A Celebration’, Rolton spoke passionately about her journey through cricket, and the right way to play.
‘We were pioneers of the game but the women before me did it much tougher. I hope my legacy is the fighting spirit to represent your State and country, never-say-die attitude, enjoy playing the game you love and play entertaining cricket – if you do that, the rest will take care of itself.’
Rolton was named in the Hall of Fame alongside seven other inductees, including four-time Olympian and dual-gold medallist Anna Meares and four-time Olympian and sport administrator Steve Moneghetti, and will be honoured in a television special on the Seven Network on December 2, Australia’s Sporting Heroes and Legends – a Celebration of the 2021 Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
14 November 2021