From watching Dad play at Lord’s to Winning her World Cup at Lord’s: Story of Anya Shrubsole

When England won the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, one name that stood out was Anya Shrubsole. The final match of the World Cup was played between India and the hosts England, which turned out to be a cliffhanger. Shrubsole, who opened the bowling with Katherine Brunt was the wrecker-in-chief, as she wreaked havoc with the ball, picking up her career-best figures of 6-46 in the all-important finale to deny India their first-ever World Cup championship by just nine runs.

 

Anya Shrubsole recorded best ever bowling figures in the Finals of World Cup 2017. PC: ICC/Getty Images
Anya Shrubsole recorded best ever bowling figures in the Finals of World Cup 2017. PC: ICC/Getty Images

 

The 6-46 is not only the career-best bowling figure for Shrubsole but also the best bowling figure by any player in the history of the Women’s World Cup finals. She deservedly won the player of the match for the 2017 World Cup final for her bowling brilliance. Riding on her success in the 2017 ICC event, the pace sensation became the first woman to appear on the cover of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 2018. Her contribution to England’s success was recognized by the award of an MBE in the Queen’s 2018 New Year Honours list. On either side of the World Cup, Shrubsole, who has been a lethal inswinger, is known to be an integral part of the England outfit, courtesy of her impeccable bowling abilities and immaculate cricketing brain.

 

Anya Shrubsole announces retirement from International Cricket. PC: ICC/Getty Images
Anya Shrubsole announces retirement from International Cricket. PC: ICC/Getty Images

 

Born on December 7, 1991 in Bath, Somerset, cricket ran in her blood, thanks to her father, Ian Shrubsole, who played a couple of county matches for Wiltshire in the early 1990s. Like father, like daughter, Anya took to cricket alongside her sister, Lauren, who played county cricket for Somerset between 2010 and 2016. She attended St. Stephen’s Primary School and later switched to Hayesfield Girls’ School.

 

Anya Shrubsole for Somerset CCC. PC: Twitter
Anya Shrubsole for Somerset CCC. PC: Twitter

 

Under the able guidance of her father, a former cricketer, Anya was brought up playing cricket with the boys at Bath Cricket Club, and at the tender age of 13, she became the first girl to join the Somerset Academy. Soon, she started playing her county cricket for Somerset, and just in a matter of three years, she was called up to the England Development Squad in 2007 on the back of a career-best performance for Somerset, in which – opening the bowling – she took 7 for 28 and bowled Surrey out for 104. She was not at all overwhelmed by her progression in cricket. She continued to deliver impressive performances one after the other for the Development Squad against South Africa in August and in the European Championship later that summer.

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Young Anya Shrubsole. PC: Anya Shrubsole
Young Anya Shrubsole. PC: Anya Shrubsole

 

On the back of her stellar bowling displays, she earned an England call in 2008, the year in which she made her international debut. She played her first ever ODI and maiden T20I against South Africa in August 2008. In her debut T20I, she picked up 3-19 against the Proteas and won the player of the match award. As far as her international cricket is concerned, August seems to be her luck month. Five years later, in 2013, she made her Test debut against Australia in the month of August.

 

Anya Shrubsole celebrating a Test Wicket. PS: Getty Images
Anya Shrubsole celebrating a Test Wicket. PS: Getty Images

 

Shrubsole had a dream start to her international career. In the very first year of playing international cricket for England, she won the Most Promising Young Women’s Cricketer Award. Not only this, by the end of the season, she was named in England’s squad for the 2009 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. Within a year of making her international debut, getting a call up for the World Cup was simply amazing. Being a part of the England squad in the 2009 World Cup, she got a chance to play just one game. However, that didn’t deter her from working hard. Since then, she has been a mainstay of England’s bowling attack, leading their pace battery alongside Katherine Brunt. Shrubsole is not only a genuine in-swing bowler but also a skiddy customer as she can clock in speeds in excess of 70mph. She is blessed with a perfect blend of swing and pace, which makes her a dangerous bowler.

Over her illustrious international career, Shrubsole has achieved many milestones. Her first international five-wicket haul came at Wellington against New Zealand in February 2012: she took 5 for 11, the best bowling performance by an English woman in T20Is. A year later, her first ODI five-for came against South Africa in the 2013 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup. Her tally of five wicket-hauls did not stop here as she went on to scalp her first in Test cricket against Australia in 2014.

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We have earlier talked about her heroics in the 2017 World Cup but before that, she made a mark in the 2014 World T20 when she won the player of the tournament for her tremendous contributions with the ball. Shrubsole was the leading wicket-taker with 13 wickets and powered her team to the finals in Bangladesh, which England, unfortunately, lost to Australia. Carrying on from where she had left in 2014, Shrubsole bagged the England Women’s Cricketer of the Year for her performances across 2015.

Since 2008, Shrubsole’s services to England cricket have been unmatched and let us hope that she continues to fare well in the years to come.

I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.

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