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Shrubsole puts England's men in the shade

Anya Shrubsole's six-for secured the trophy Getty Images

Anya Shrubsole has achieved what England's men have found beyond them by being shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Shrubsole won the accolade for an outstanding spell of five wickets in 19 balls, and 6 for 46 in all, against India at Lord's - the best bowling figures in a Women's World Cup final.

As well as pulling off one of the greatest feats in England women's cricket history, she became the first female cricketer to receive the Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket award, for the manner in which she consoled South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk after England's semi-final win, and also helped Western Storm win the Kia League title.

"Humbled to be named amongst some incredible athletes!," Shrubsole tweeted. "Top of the list of things I never expected to happen!"

The latest honour is an indication of how England Women's cricket is creeping into public consciousness, but as the men celebrate her success they will also ruefully wonder what they have to do.

Ian Bell was the last male cricketer to be nominated, his stock never higher than when England won the 2013 Ashes.

But two years later, as England won the Ashes once more, Joe Root and Stuart Broad missed out to general consternation, even though Root had established himself as one of the top batsmen in the world and Broad bowled out Australia in a single session at Trent Bridge with 8 for 15, with his look of amazement going viral.

This year, England's record was more prosaic, although Root did win his first two series as Test captain and James Anderson became the first England bowler to take 500 Test wickets.

The relevance of the Sports Personality of the Year list - once eagerly awaited - is now widely debated as it is influenced by many factors, including the availability of BBC sports rights and the desire to ensure the shortlist serves all demographics.

But Shrubsole will rightly be delighted at her recognition, for all that, as she joined a list that includes the likes of Mo Farah, Lewis Hamilton and Harry Kane.

The fact is that cricketers have never done very well (neither, for that matter, have footballers). Only four have ever won and all of them after outstanding Ashes performances.

It would probably take an England World Cup win on home soil in 2019 to change that.

In the meantime, England's women have set the example.

Shortlist: Mo Farah (athletics), Chris Froome (cycling), Lewis Hamilton (F1), Anthony Joshua (boxing), Harry Kane (football), Johanna Konta (tennis), Jonnie Peacock (Paralympic athlete), Adam Peaty (swimming), Jonathan Rea (superbikes), Anya Shrubsole (cricket).