Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, in which women’s cricket matches will be played in the T20 format from July 29 to August 7 in Birmingham, the ICC has announced the first five players selected as 100% Cricket Superstars.
The five players are from different countries and they are Shafali Verma from India, Sophie Ecclestone from England, Laura Wolvaardt from South Africa, Hayley Matthews from West Indies, and Amelia Kerr from New Zealand. These players are the first crop of what will ultimately be a 100% Cricket Superstars squad that fans can pick from to decide on a final XI.
Shafali Verma (India):
The teenage sensation from India has already garnered many eyeballs internationally, thanks to her swashbuckling batting abilities. She is the youngest player to make her debut for India and the youngest Indian to hit an international half-century. Since her international debut in 2019, she has featured in two Tests, 17 ODIs and 32 T20Is. She has scored close to 1500 runs, including 10 half-centuries across formats. In her short international career so far, she has proved to be an all-round player. She averages more than 60 in Tests, close to 30 in ODIs and has a strike rate of 140 in T20Is.
Sophie Ecclestone (England):
The left arm spinner from England is the number one bowler in women’s ODI and T20I cricket. She is one of the most successful bowlers for England in recent times. The 23-year-old spinner made her international debut in 2016 and since then has been an integral part of the English bowling attack. In her 102 international appearances, she has scalped 161 wickets, including one five wicket haul and five four wicket hauls. Apart from her bowling, she is more than a handy lower order batter and has more than 400 international runs to her name.
Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa):
The right-handed opening batter from South Africa is a delight to watch when she is on song. Arguably, she is the best cover driver in the present-day women’s cricket. In the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup that was played in New Zealand early this year, she was the leading run-getter for the Proteas and the fourth highest run scorer in the tournament. To date, the 23-year-old has played 114 international matches and has mustered more than 3500 international runs, including three centuries and 30 half-centuries.
Hayley Matthews (West Indies):
The star all-rounder is the newly appointed captain of the West Indies. She is a right-handed opening batter and a right arm off spinner. She has been the vice-captain of the team since 2018. Matthews made her international debut in 2014. The 24-year-old has the experience of playing 69 ODIs and 61 T20Is. The attacking batter has muscled 1764 runs in ODIs and 1055 runs in T20Is. She also has a T20I century in addition to three centuries in the 50-over format. Apart from her prolific batting record, she has 136 international wickets under her belt, including five four wicket hauls.
Amelia Kerr (New Zealand):
The 21-year-old all-rounder from New Zealand holds a unique record of scoring a double century and picking up five wickets in the same ODI. Her score of 232 not out against Ireland in an ODI is the highest individual score by any player in women’s ODI cricket. She is a right-handed top order batter and a right arm leg spinner. Though she started her international career as a specialist bowler, she has taken some quick strides to earn her place in the side as a genuine all-rounder. She has represented the White Ferns in 95 international matches, scored close to 1500 runs and picked up 115 wickets.
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.