Jan Brittin, who was part of England's World Cup-winning side in 1993, has died from cancer aged 58.
Brittin is the leading run-scorer and century-maker in Women's Test cricket with five hundreds in her 27 matches between 1979 and 1998. She played 63 ODIs, and top-scored with 48 when England beat New Zealand at Lord's to win the World Cup and also took the final catch to secure victory.
Her Test best of 167 came against Australia at Harrogate in 1998 - in the penultimate match of her career - and she opened alongside Charlotte Edwards, who paid tribute on Twitter calling Brittin "her idol."
Clare Connor, the director of England Women's Cricket, said: "JB was one of the most quiet and unassuming cricketers you could meet, but she was pure class. An outstanding cricketer and a truly lovely person.
"In a year when England have again won the World Cup at Lord's, we should not forget the huge contribution JB made to the development and success of women's cricket in this country.
"For girls of my generation she was our first real female role model. She batted with grace and timing - a classical opener, so beautiful to watch. She was also a brilliantly athletic cover fielder.
"JB was born to play Test cricket and it's unlikely that her record in this format will ever be beaten. She also had a fine record in the one-day game, and of course she made that significant contribution to England's World Cup win at Lord's in 1993."
Brittin played her domestic cricket for Surrey and flags at The Oval were lowered to half-mast during the Championship match against Yorkshire.
Ebony Rainford-Brent, Surrey's director of women's cricket, said: "JB was such an inspiration to me and many others growing up who were able to watch or play with one of the greatest female cricketers of all time. As a character she was fun, engaging and always generous in her knowledge, particularly when she gave back as a coach later in her career. Her records speak for themselves the class of player she was and will stand the test of time."