The rise and rise of England’s Sophie Ecclestone

England’s slow left-arm bowler Sophie Ecclestone celebrates her 22nd birthday today. At such a young age, she has already made a mark for herself in world cricket. She has featured in two Tests, 27 ODIs, and 42 T20Is, and has scalped 106 wickets so far. She made her international debut against Pakistan at Bristol in July 2016 at just 17 years of age and since then has been a constant member of the English outfit.

 

Photograph: Alex Davidson/Rex/Shutterstock
Sophie Ecclestone. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Rex/Shutterstock

 

Known for her accuracy and economy, she became the world number one T20I bowler in 2019, on the back of three years of stellar performances in the shortest format. She started playing cricket at Alvanley Cricket Club, a local club in Helsby, Cheshire. She played for Cheshire for a couple of years and in 2015 was spotted by Lancashire, making her top-level debut as a 16-year-old that year, against Nottinghamshire in Division 1 of the Women’s County Championship.

2016 was particularly a good year for Ecclestone as she was impressive in the tri-series held in Sri Lanka which had Sri Lanka A and Australia’s Shooting Stars, picking up 16 wickets, which included a four-wicket haul too. Riding on her success in the tri-series, she received an England call for the home T20I series against Pakistan in July 2016. The slow left-arm spinner had a decent outing as she accounted for 1-21 in her four overs.

Sophie Ecclestone
Sophie Ecclestone pose with her ‘Player of the Match Trophy’. PC: IPL/Twitter

 

The next 18 months were not hunky-dory for her as she was overlooked. Finally, she made a comeback during the 2017-18 Ashes series in Australia, where she made her Test debut. In 2018, she had a wonderful World T20 in West Indies as most of the batters found it difficult to score against her.  Just like the T20s, she was good in ODIs as well, maintaining a low economy rate and bowling tough lines and lengths.

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Taking on from where she had left in the 2018 World T20, Ecclestone spread her magic in the 2020 World T20 as she was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. She picked up eight wickets in four games and gave away just 49 runs in 15.1 overs. She was also the leading wicket-taker for England in that competition.

Sophie Ecclestone has had a dream start to her international career and with many more years to come there is seldom any doubt that this youngster will only go from strength to strength.

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