At the time of writing, women’s cricket is globally on the rise. Fundamentally, the growth of the female side of the game is a testament to heightened marketing, player quality, and scheduling. This new-found success has added diversity to cricket on a worldwide scale, and that’s a significant breakthrough for the traditional sport. Of the current competitors, few have risen to stardom quite as rapidly as Sophie Ecclestone, who continues to cement her legacy as one of the best female bowlers of all time. So, let’s take a look at her career, and consider how the growth of women’s cricket will further future opportunities.
Becoming the Best in the World
Having made her international debut back in 2016, Ecclestone’s rise within the sport has been rapid. Over the past four years, the 21-year-old caught the eye of the England and Wales Cricket Board. This resulted in her gaining a full central contract in 2019. Although England failed to make the final of the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, the tournament saw Ecclestone break the pre-existing record as she became the youngest bowler to take 50 wickets in 20-over cricket, as per The Cricketer.
Not only that, but the Chester-born slow, left-arm bowler is currently ranked number one in women’s cricket across T20Is. According to her profile at ESPN Cricinfo, the 21-year-old has, at the time of writing, taken 56 wickets in 39 international T20s. In that period, she has registered one four-wicket haul, along with an average of 15.46 and an economy rate of 5.95. Because of Ecclestone’s age, by the end of her career, she may establish herself as one of the best female spinners of all time. Creating such a legacy is achievable for the 21-year-old, especially if she can sustain her current wicket-taking form.
The Growth of Women’s Cricket Will Further Raise Her Status
If the Chester-born bowler is to further her reputation within the sport, then playing in the newly-formed Women’s T20 Challenge will undoubtedly assist in making her a world-renowned star. Since coming to fruition in 2018, the opening two editions of the 20-over competition have been won by IPL Supernovas. Along with Ecclestone, her England teammate, Danielle Wyatt, has also been called up for the Women’s IPL.
Although she’s the best T20I bowler in the world, the 21-year-old longs to win trophies, and has a chance to do so in the upcoming T20 Challenge, with the Trailblazers being 7/4 to win the competition with cricket betting, as of November 3rd.
The emergence of the Women’s T20 Challenge won’t just benefit the current crop of female cricketers, but also the next generation. Despite only having three competitor teams, there’s scope for the tournament to grow in the coming years as interest develops. As per First Post, the female equivalent of the IPL looks to put women’s cricket on the map, with participants from five countries playing in the competition.
A Central Figure in the Long-Term Growth of Women’s Cricket
Given her youthfulness, Ecclestone will likely be representing England for much of the next decade and potentially beyond. Throughout that time, the outlook of women’s cricket will continue to evolve, as is evident from the founding of the Women’s T20 Challenge. Not only does she have the ability to cement her own legacy, but she can also drive female cricket into a new era.