WPL23 Auction had its share of drama and despair. The Women’s Premier League was delayed at least 3-5 years, but it is finally here.
Today we have the ultimate resource on WPL23 Auction—The entire list of auction buys (in both Indian Rupee and US dollars), most expensive buys & unsold players, team squads, predicted XIs, analysis, and more!
The top 5 most expensive players at the WPL23 auction were Smriti Mandhana (INR 3.4 Crore), Ashleigh Gardner (INR 3.2 Crore), Nat Sciver-Brunt (INR 3.2 Crore), Deepti Sharma (INR 2.4 Crore), and Jemimah Rodrigues (INR 2.2 Crore).
Tara Norris (USA) was the only player selected from an Associate Nation. Mahika Gaur from UAE was bid by Gujarat Giants for INR 10 Lakh. However, Giants had already completed their overseas quota. Hence, the bid was taken back and sadly, Gaur was not selected.
449 cricketers (270 Indian, 179 overseas) players put their name in the Women’s Premier League Auction 2023. The breakdown of the overseas players was as follows (31 England, 29 Australia, 23 West Indies, 19 New Zealand, 17 South Africa, 15 Sri Lanka, 11 Zimbabwe, 9 Thailand & Bangladesh, 6 Ireland, 4 UAE, 2 Netherlands & Scotland, and 1 USA & Hong Kong).
Alice Capsey, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Bell, Heather Knight, Sophia Dunkley, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Issy Wong (7 England), Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Grace Harris, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Erin Burns, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Annabel Sutherland, Heather Graham, Georgia Wareham, Laura Harris (14 Australian), Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail, Dane van Niekerk, Chloe Tryon (4 South African), Tara Norris (1 USA), Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews (2 West Indies), Amelia Kerr, Sophie Devine (2 New Zealand) are the 30 foreign players picked for WPL 23 auction.
20 Cricketers for Whom Teams Broke the Bank at the WPL23 Auction
Smriti Mandhana – INR 3.4 Crore ($415,000)
Ashleigh Gardner – INR 3.2 Crore ($390,000)
Nat Sciver-Brunt – INR 3.2 Crore ($390,000)
Deepti Sharma – INR 2.4 Crore ($317,000)
Jemimah Rodrigues – INR 2.2 Crore ($268,000)
Shafali Verma – INR 2 Crore ($244,000)
Beth Mooney – INR 2 Crore ($244,000)
Pooja Vastrakar – INR 1.9 Crore ($232,000)
Richa Ghosh – INR 1.9 Crore ($232,000)
Harmanpreet Kaur – INR 1.8 Crore ($220,000)
Sophie Ecclestone – INR 1.8 Crore ($220,000)
Ellyse Perry – INR 1.7 Crore ($207,000)
Renuka Singh Thakur – INR 1.5 Crore ($183,000)
Marizanne Kapp – INR 1.5 Crore ($183,000)
Yastika Bhatia – INR 1.5 Crore ($183,000)
Tahlia McGrath – INR 1.4 Crore ($171,000)
Devika Vaidya – INR 1.4 Crore ($171,000)
Meg Lanning – INR 1.1 Crore ($134,000)
Shabnim Ismail – INR 1 Crore ($122,000)
Amelia Kerr – INR 1 Crore ($122,000)
13 Unlucky Prominent Players that were Left Unsold at the WPL23 Auction
Katherine Sciver-Brunt (England): Base Price – 50 Lakhs ($61,000)
Danni Wyatt (England): Base Price – 50 Lakhs ($61,000)
Alana King (Australia): Base Price – 40 Lakhs ($49,000)
Amy Jones (England): Base Price – 40 Lakhs ($49,000)
Priya Punia (India): Base Price – 40 Lakhs ($49,000)
Suzie Bates (New Zealand): Base Price – 30 Lakhs ($37,000)
Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka): Base Price – 30 Lakhs ($37,000)
Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa): Base Price – 30 Lakhs ($37,000)
Tammy Beaumont (England): Base Price – 30 Lakhs ($37,000)
Lea Tahuhu (New Zealand): Base Price – 30 Lakhs ($37,000)
Salma Khatun (Bangladesh): Base Price – 40 Lakhs ($49,000)
Jahanara Alam (Bangladesh): Base Price – 30 Lakhs ($37,000)
Ayabonga Khaka (South Africa): Base Price – 30 Lakhs ($37,000)
WPL23 (Women’s Premier League 2023) Complete Squads
Staff: Jonathan Batty, Hemalata Kala, Lisa Keightley, Biu George
Look out for the Delhi Capitals. The Top 5 are one of the strongest in the WPL and quite a bit of international talent in the bowling department as well. A possible X-factor is the fast bowling trio in Kapp-Pandey-Reddy to back up their batters and spinners.
Staff: Nooshin Al Khadeer, Tushar Arothe, Mithali Raj
Good Indian contingent with a decent possible XI, but may struggle to find replacements. Ash Gardner, Sneh Rana, and Harleen Deol might be a handful allrounders with their offspinners especially handy in Mumbai conditions.
Great overseas players – the versatility of Matthews, Kerr, and Nat Sciver-Brunt will be key for Mumbai’s chances. Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet, and Pooja Vastrakar also give Mumbai a solid Indian core. However, the fast bowling is a bit light for a T20 squad. Has a good chance to be in the Top 3.
RCB has all the ingredients for a successful WPL campaign, but what will their XI be? They have a star-studded overseas stars in Perry, Devine, van Niekerk, Megan Schutt, Heather Knight, and more, but they can only pick 4 in the XI. The lower batting order is of concern, but that aside, this is a side that should make the final.
Only one word comes to mind when we look at the UP Warriorz squad—Balance.Good depth of all-rounders and stars in Alyssa Healy, Deepti Sharmi, Tahlia McGrath, Ecclestone, Ismail, Gayakwad. Good pick of spinners, fast bowlers, Indian nationals, overseas talent, and U-19 World Cup winners. Could be a dark-horse.
Frequently Asked Questions – Get to Know the Players
Which foreign players were picked for the WPL23 auction?
Alice Capsey, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Bell, Heather Knight, Sophia Dunkley, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Issy Wong (England), Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Grace Harris, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Erin Burns, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Annabel Sutherland, Heather Graham, Georgia Wareham, Laura Harris (Australia), Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail, Dane van Niekerk, Chloe Tryon (South Africa), Tara Norris (USA), Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews (West Indies), Amelia Kerr, Sophie Devine (New Zealand) are the foreign players picked for WPL 23 auction.
Who were the most expensive buys at the WPL23 auction?
The top 5 most expensive players at the WPL23 auction were Smriti Mandhana (INR 3.4 Crore), Ashleigh Gardner (INR 3.2 Crore), Nat Sciver-Brunt (INR 3.2 Crore), Deepti Sharma (INR 2.4 Crore), and Jemimah Rodrigues (INR 2.2 Crore).
Who were the most prominent unsold players at the WPL23 auction?
Katherine Sciver-Brunt, Danni Wyatt, Alana King, Amy Jones, Priya Punia, Suzie Bates, Meghna Singh, Laura Woolvaardt, Lea Tahuhu, and Tammy Beaumont were the most prominent unsold players ath the Women’s Premier League 2023 auction.
The good news? It was more or less a success. The semi-finals, finals, and the Bronze medal match all went down to the wire. Unlike the rumored T10 format for the Olympics, it was nice to see that T20 did the job fairly well. The best of all – crowds were in!
Hosting a world wide tournament in England is one thing…in a non-Test cricket playing nation…that may be a different challenge altogether.
India, Australia, England, and New Zealand qualified for the semi-finals. With the exception of a NZ team (which was on a downfall earlier), this was not exactly was a surprise.
Sri Lanka were bowled out for 46 & 102, Barbados bundled out for 62 & 64, and Pakistan all out for 99. On the flip side, Australia chased 155 out of nowhere, and the big teams had 11 scores combined between 150-170.
3. Australia are Invincible
In the opening match of the tournament, Renuka Singh’s four wicket haul were struggling at 49/5, courtesy Renuka Singh’s 49/5.
Then, I tweeted this – a seemingly arrogant headline by ESPNCricinfo, already gifting the gold medal to Australia
And guess what? Ash Gardner scored an unbeaten 52*(35) to take Australia home with Grace Harris and Alana King providing strong support.
It seems that Gold is reserved for this Australian team. This team is invincible – ODI World Cup, T20 World Cup, record streak of ODI wins, and now the Commonwealth Gold Medal.
This team is so strong that Ellyse Perry, yes the Ellyse Perry, sat on the sideline all tournament.
4. India lose out on nerves again, but is lack of WIPL the only reason?
India lost the final against Australia by 9 runs, the same margin they had lost in the 2017 ODI World Cup final. And in a similar fashion as well.
Chasing 162, India had recovered to a steady 118/2 in 14.2 overs. The young star, Jemimah Rodrigues and senior captain-slash-arch-nemesis, Harmanpreet Kaur were playing. Rodrigues was dismissed for 33 and Kaur followed soon with 65. Some baffling decisions with Yastika Bhatia, a regular #3 being sent at #9 & three run outs ensured India fell 9 run short, with 3 balls still to spare.
Social media went haywire with India’s inability to finish and ‘lack of mental strength’ accusations galore. Lots of pointers that the Women’s IPL has already been delayed 2-3 years too long and that resulted in not enough pressure situation practice.
That is partially true but a WIPL wouldn’t magically have done anything. Results and increased depth from WIPL will probably be seen in a decade from now at the earliest. This loss could be attributed to nerves in a final (regardless of the team), an Australian team one level above, and error in judgment by the set batters.
5. Early retirements a concern in women’s cricket too
Trent Boult’s semi-unofficial-retirement (in fashion of AB De Villiers), Ben Stokes’ ODI retirement, and Quinton de Kock’s Test retirement are not the only signs of cricket’s changing landscape.
Lizelle Lee (30) & Deandre Dottin (31) both announced shock retirements from international cricket. Although the reasons were different, it shows growing dissent between the players and respective boards.
Women’s cricket has become mainstream over the last decade, especially with the breakthrough 2017 ODI World Cup and the 2020 T20 World Cup final, but how much do we really about it?
The general public can remember who won the 1979 Cricket World Cup, Kapil Dev’s 1983 catch, Wasim Akram’s 1992 swing, South Africa’s collapses, and Australia’s dominance in men’s cricket. Here we will educate ourselves about the Women’s Cricket World Cup—How many World Cups have happened, what happened in each world cup, who is the highest runs scorer, wicket taker, and much more!
By the end of this article, you will know everything from history to prepare yourself for the upcoming 2022 Cricket World cup.
Cricket’s first ODI World Cup was the 1973 Women’s Cricket World Cup, not the 1975 Men’s Cricket World Cup.
Denmark played cricket? That’s right. While teams like Ireland and Netherlands made their impact in men’s world cup in the 2000s, teams like Ireland, Denmark, and Netherlands made their Women’s World Cup debut from the 1988 & 1993 world cups onwards.
In the 1973 World Cup, Jamaica & Trinidad and Tobago played as separate nations, not under West Indies.
Format: Round Robin (3 matches each), 6 matches total
Highest Run-Scorer: Margaret Jennings (127) – Australia
Highest Wicket Taker: Sharyn Hill (7) – Australia
Venue: New Zealand
Fun Fact:Australia won their first cricket world cup….first of their 20 world cups (5 men’s ODI, 1 T20 WC, 3 U-19 WC, 6 women’s ODI WC, 5 T20I WC)…WOW.
3. Hansells Vita Fresh 1982 Women’s Cricket World Cup
Venue: New Zealand
Winner: Australia 🥇
Runners Up: England 🥈
Teams: 5 (Australia, England, New Zealand, India, International XI)
Format: Triple Round Robin + Final (12 matches each), 31 matches total
Highest Run-Scorer: Jan Brittin (391) – England
Highest Wicket Taker: Lyn Fullston (23) – Australia (most in any women’s WC)
Fun Fact:Jackie Lord took 8-2-10-6 against India, women’s cricket best WC bowling figures to date. Electing to bat, NZ were bundled out for 80 in 58.5 overs via Diana Edulji’s 11.5-7-10-3 (60-over match). In reply, Lord helped bundle India for 37 in 35 overes.
Each team played each other THREE TIMES! Can you imagine that in today’s day and age? Also International XI makes a comeback.
Highest Run-Scorer: Debbie Hockley (456) – New Zealand (most in any women’s WC)
Highest Wicket Taker: Katrina Keenan (13) – New Zealand
Fun Fact:Belinda Clark 229* (pushing Australia to 412/7, best WC score ever till date) and Charlotte Edwards’ 173 broke ODI batting world records, Pakistan collapsed for 27/10 (lowest ever WC score), and Jhulan Goswami, on ball duty, was inspired to take up the sport as a child.The beginning of professionalization of women’s cricket (from skirts/culottes to trousers)
Teams: 8 (Australia, India, New Zealand, England, West indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ireland)
Format: Round Robin + Semi-Finals + Finals, 31 matches total
Player of the Tournament: Karen Rolton (Australia) (Rolton boasts the best WC average across women’s WC – 74.92)
Highest Run-Scorer: Charlotte Edwards (280)
Highest Wicket Taker: Neetu David (20)
Fun Fact:Featured a star cast—Belinda Clark, Lisa Sthalekar, Karen Rolton, Lisa Keightley, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Charlotte Edwards, Katherine Brunt, Isa Guha, Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Anjum Chopra, Neetu David, Anisa Mohammed—a clash of generations.
Sounds okay but could be better. Let us try again.
Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami—The Eternal Legends? Scratch that. How about
Goswami & Raj: Stalwarts that Let the Flame Burning for India’s Women Cricket.
I have to be brutally honest here. I had a tough time finishing this article.
It took me weeks. I mean how could I summarize such long careers, awe-aspiring legacies, and inspirational stories with a mere couple of phrases? In fact, it took me an entire day just to research just the sheer number of records and awards these two possess (all of them listed below).
103 days away from the 2022 Women’s ODI Cricket World Cup Final, let us look back at the glorious careers of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami—Where Did It all begin? Statistics and legacies, ups and downs, the final hurrah, and of course what can we learn from the lives of India’s best women batter and fastest bowler?
It has been 8216 days and 7291 days since Mithali Raj’s and Jhulan Goswami’s debut respectively. That is a really long time, let alone for a sporting career. Let us trace back to where it all began.
Jhulan Goswami did not actually start playing cricket till the relatively late age of 15. It was the 1997 ODI World Cup Final between Australia and New Zealand that sowed the seeds of cricket deep into her roots.
She was a ball picker in that World Cup final at the Eden Gardens when Australia’s World Cup winning celebrations ignited her passion to take up the sport.
It was now her dream to lift the World Cup trophy for India.
Mithali Raj’s talent was picked early, and she was in the national radar by the time she was 14. However, actually devoting her career to cricket was not such an easy decision.
Early Decisions, Discipline, and the Passion to Excel
In their interviews with Gaurav Kapur in Breakfast With Champions and Mithali Raj’s chat with Ravichandran Ashwin in DRS With Ash, we gain a bit of insight in their lives—Raj’s early interest & training in the Indian classical dance form of Bharatnatyam, her fascination with books, and what obstacles both Goswami & Raj had to overcome during their journey.
Although both of their parents were supportive of their decisions to play cricket, there was backlash from extended family and the rest of society, especially when women’s cricket in India was in its infancy. Raj states that her toughest decision was to choose World Cup selection games over her 12th grade board exams. In any case, they both started training in cricket academies, disciplined their routines, and woke up around 4 AM to get ready for practice.
In Raj’s case, the discipline stemmed from an army family background. For Jhulan, originally from the small town of Chakdaha, it was the two hours travel by train for practice.
It was an evident in their early days of international cricket that these two were going to make an indelible impact in Indian cricket.
Opening the batting, Raj scored 114* against Ireland in her debut ODI on 26 June, 1999 just at the age of 16. Goswami would follow suit on January 5th, 2002, opening the bowling against England and returning with figures of 7-0-15-2. Her high arm release, bowling speed, and the beautiful smooth action would be a breath to behold in the years to come.
Records and Statistics of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami
In these tributes, I usually like to add a statistics section to paint the whole picture of the cricketer, but this one is a bit unique. Since Raj & Goswami have played so much cricket & have been consistently excellent, they practically have all the individual records to their name.
Slowly scroll down, sit back, and just reflect how dominant these two legends have been for two decades.
Joint Records Held by Raj & Goswami
2nd – Joint Longest Test Careers (debut 14 January, 2002)
157 – Highest Partnership for the 7th Wicket in Test Cricket (Aug 14-17, 2002)
Mithali Raj Stats
Mithali Raj Career Statistics
Mithali Raj Records
Leading scorer in women’s cricket across formats (10454+)
Only Indian captain to lead the country in two ODI World Cup finals
3rd Youngest Test Captain (At 22)
Youngest Player to score 200+ (19)
2nd Highest Individual Score (214)
Most Runs (7391* and counting)
Longest ODI Career (Debut: 26 Jun 1999)
Most Career Matches (220)
Most Consecutive Matches (109 – Between April 2004-February 2013)
Jhulan Goswami’s best days came between 2006 & 2008. Her all-round form (3-46 & 2-62, 69 at #3, 5-33 & 5-45) helped India win a Test series in England on her way to become the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year.
World Cup Dream
Although Raj & Goswami have accomplished almost everything in the sport, there is one elusive achievement they have yet to realize—the World Cup dream.
Mithali Raj has played in 5 ODI World Cups, dating back to the 2000 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, when India made the semi-finals. Next time in 2005, both Jhulan & captain made the team. It would be India’s first run to the World Cup final, losing to Australia. Raj was India’s highest scorer with 199 runs (5th overall), and Jhulan was at #3 in the wickets (13 wickets).
Then followed two World Cups of relative disappointments.
Rock Bottom of 2009 & 2013
In 2009, India did not make it past the Super Six stage, but Raj made it into the Team of the tournament (247 runs, 2 – 50s, best of 75*). Goswami, who did not have a great time with the ball, was India’s captain during the tournament.
The 2013 Cricket World Cup, however, was arguably the lowest moment as India failed to get out of the qualifying stage. This time captaincy was back with Mithali Raj while Jhulan had a decent tournament with 9 wickets in just 4 games. Raj did score a 103* against Pakistan for the 7th Place Playoffs.
Post-2017, media coverage, funding, and women’s cricket grew in leaps and bounds. Mithali Raj herself reflects that she had more interviews after 2017 then in the first 18 years of her career.
India’s successful march to the finals was another great storyline of the tournament. By this time, a good core had formed around Raj & Goswami with Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, and Punam Raut all contributing with match -winning performances.
Raj followed up her consistent scores of 71, 45, 53, 69 with a 109-run knock against New Zealand. She ended up as the second highest run getter of the tournament with 409 runs (1 run behind Tammy Beaumont). Goswami had a decent run herself, taking 10 wickets overall with the best of 3/23 and providing India with miserly opening sells.
India has not had the rub of the green in the T20 World Cups in T20 World Cups either. After qualifying for the semi-finals in 2009 & 2010, they crashed out in the group stages in 2012.
They did not get far in 2014 & 2016 either except that Mithali Raj was the 3rd highest run getter with 208 runs in 2014.
In 2018, India had a bright run with 4 wins in 4 matches in the group stage before crashing out in the semi-finals again. Mithali had retired by the time 2020 T20 World Cup came around and Jhulan did not play in a T20 World Cup since 2016.
Jhulan Goswami was India’s captain briefly from 2008 to 2011, captaining India in 25 ODIs (W: 12, L: 13).
Mithali Raj, on the other hand, has had a couple of captaincy stints. First was around the 2005 ODI Women’s World Cup, the second stint during the 2013 World Cup, and the final one around the 2017 Women’s World Cup. In all, she captained India in 8 Tests (W:3, D: 4, L: 1) and 143 ODIs (W: 85, L: 55), the most by any Indian captain.
The Captaincy-Controversy Complex
These days India’s captaincy is synonymous with controversy. The same applies here as well.
Although Ramesh Powar is back as India’s head coach now and the relationship has reconciled, in 2018, a public battle of words between Raj & coach Ramesh Power took place. There was discussion on Raj’s strike rate and batting position during the 2018 T20 World Cup and she was eventually dropped from the 2018 semifinals, which India lost.
Eventually, Mithali Raj retired from the T20Is in 2019 and Harmanpreet Kaur replaced Mithali as captain.
Women’s IPL Without Goswami & Raj Already a Failure for BCCI
However, it has already failed before it began. In order to cultivate a strong fan base, Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami would have been wonderful ambassadors as players. I am sure they will still be invovled in some way or the other, but without creating a team around them, the BCCI has already lost a golden opportunity.
They have given everything for Indian cricket. They deserve one final farewell, preferably in front of their home crowd.
What Can We Learn from Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami?
Just like the 1997 World Cup moment inspired her, Jhulan herself has inspired numerous other cricketers like Pakistan’s Kainat Imtiaz (who was a ball picker when India toured Pakistan in 2005).
The legacies of Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami are far beyond the numbers. They have not only changed cricket but have also changed the perception of fans towards women’s cricket.
When they debuted, Indian women’s cricket was not at a great place. BCCI had not taken over women’s cricket yet, lots of the early tours required self-sponsoring, practices were on turf wickets, and the facilities/physios were not as prominent back then.
The fact that India has reached so many semi-finals & finals and a trophy seems to be right around the corner is credit to their work over the years. Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami have not only contributed by their own skills but have also mentored and brought others along the way.
Longevity & consistency, coming back from disappointments, breaking barriers, mentoring others, staying focused on your goals, and always, always daring to dream—This is what Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami teach me.
I hope their magnificent careers and lives teaches you some valuable life lessons as well.
Quotes on Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami
Here is some advice in their own words.
“Young boys and young girls saying – We saw your match, we want to play cricket, where can we go, and enroll ourselves? So that’s a success for me, because getting the girls to watch cricket is a big thing.’
– Mithali Raj on Breakfast with Champions
“”Be committed and persistent in what [you] do. Channel your energy and be consistent”
– Mithali Raj advice to young girls in DRS With Ash
“But winning the World Cup was a dream. You chase that dream. You wake up every day and think about lifting that trophy…But that blot will remain unless you win the World Cup. Irrespective of me being in the team or not.”
-Jhulan Goswami on the World Cup dream
“I live with this dream. I live with this passion and want to do something for women’s cricket.”
-Jhulan Goswami on Women’s Cricket
“You have been a trendsetter…an inspiration…and a role model.”
– R Ashwin on Mithali Raj
Final Hurrah for the Iconic Duo?
Raj & Goswami are still fit and raring to go as we saw against Australia series this year. Goswami redeemed herself from a high pressure last over no-ball with a match winning shot in the very next game. They still have it in them.
On March 5th, 2022, India begins its journey to the 2022 Women’s ODI World Cup against Pakistan. Who knows, these might be the final 7 games that we might see of these legends.
We all hope that they can go two steps forward and achieve their World Cup dream. But even if they do not, it has been two delightful careers sandwiched in one that have mesmerized the fans for two decades.
“Start by doing what’s necessary. Then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” said Francis of Assisi about 800 years ago.
India women did just that, holding England to an improbable draw.
Women’s Tests A Rarity
Due to an increased fan following in women’s cricket since the 2017 ODI World Cup, recent emphasis has been on limited overs cricket, expansion of the game via T20 World Cup, and a potential game changer in Women’s Hundred.
Since resources have been spent in marketing the limited overs game, women’s Test cricket has disappeared in the background.
England play only one Test match every couple of years in the Ashes against Australia. Indian women had it even worse—they were playing their first test after 7 years and only their third in 15 years.
We did not know how it will pan out. Will India struggle with the lack of match practice? Will they remain unbeaten in Tests in England? How would teams cope with a used pitch?
Electing to bat first, England posted a solid 396/9 declared courtesy their senior players: Beaumont’s 66, captain Heather Knight’s 95, Nat Sciver’s 42, and debutant’s Sophie Dunkley’s 74.
Openers Smriti Mandhana & Shafali Verma would form a record 167-partnership, before India collapsed for 231. England enforced the follow-on with India 165 runs still behind & 135 overs still left in the game.
Rana-Bhatia’s Performance of the Ages
In the second innings, they started by doing the necessary. The top order repeated its fight with contributions from Verma, Raut, and Sharma before they collapsed from 171-2 to 199-7 in 73.3 overs. What’s more, India’s last recognized batter, Harmanpreet Kaur departed. With 50 overs still to go, little did anyone expect that India would survive.
Then they did what was possible. Stitch out partnerships. Play ball-by-ball. Stall the time. An hour later, Shikha Pandey departed after a fighting 18 (50).
What followed was a performance of a lifetime, a magnificent rearguard effort between Taniya Bhatia & Sneh Rana—104* (185) partnership. Suddenly, India were doing the impossible.
Rana scored 80* (154) & Bhatia provided ample support with 44* (88) to deny England a routine victory.
Patience, grit, determination on show. Bravo India women!
Debutants Dare to Dream
The experienced duo, Mithali Raj & Harmanpreet Kaur, scored a paltry 18 runs in 4 innings. To achieve the impossible, India’s youngsters were thrown in the deep end, similar to the Border-Gavaskar series in men’s cricket.
Not only did the newer generation star, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Shafali Verma, Sneh Rana, and Taniya Bhatia were actually making their Test debuts for the India women team. Sophia Dunkley, whose 74* revived England from 251-6 to 396/9 declared, was debuting for England.
Shafali became the youngest women (17 years & 139 days) cricketer and second overall after Sachin Tendulkar to score fifties in both innings—96 & 63.
Promoted from #7 in the 1st innings to #3 in the 2nd, Sharma brought India back in the game with mature knocks of 29* & 54 to go along with 3/65.
Rana’s 4/131 & 80* Bhatia’s 44* saves India.
Vastrakar contributed with 1/53.
Ecclestone Bowls Herself To the Ground
The English bowlers were in the field for two and a half days!
Sophie Ecclestone took the bulk of the responsibilities, bowling 26 overs (out of 81.5) in the first innings and 38 (out of 121 overs) in the second. She ended up figures of 4-88 & 4-118.
Kudos to her for giving it her best shot. Can take some rest now. Already a T20 star, the 22-year old has the potential to be an all-time England great.
Time For 5-Day Tests In Women’s Cricket?
At the end of the 4th day, the captains shook hands with 12 overs to go. India were 179 runs ahead at 344/8.
Imagine a potential day 5—England’s target around 200 runs with 80 overs to go. All 4 results possible. Mouth-watering scenario, isn’t it? Well it isn’t entirely possible when you only have a 4-day Test.
Captain Heather Knight commented that the lack of 5th day “robbed of that finish,” and they would definitely be open for 5-day Tests. Mithali Raj had a more practical suggestion, “It’s a good idea to have a five-day Test but we actually have to start Test matches regularly.”
Why not combine both? Teams that traditionally play consistent Test cricket (Australia & England) should be allowed to experiment with 5-day Tests and pink-ball Tests. On the other hand, teams like India should not be searching for Test match opportunities every seven or eight years. Why not have one mandatory 4-day Test per bilateral series for teams like India, South Africa, and New Zealand? This way, more seasoned cricketers will get Test match experience and cricket boards will get the chance to focus on the marketing aspect of Women’s Test cricket.
Who knows, maybe a Women’s World Test Championship is just what is needed to provide context.
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It is a huge year for India Women—Test cricket makes a comeback after seven years, last playing against South Africa in 2014. India is scheduled for one Test against England as well as two Tests in Australia later this year, including a Day-Night Test.
Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut, Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, and Poonam Yadav return from that game 7 years ago.
England, on the other hand, have played multiple Ashes series with one Test match each (2013, 2013-14, 2015, 2017-18, 2019). Amy Jones, Tammy Beaumont, Heather Knight, Georgia Elwiss, Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, and Sophie Ecclestone return from their last Test.
While the Test match is in the forefront now, do not forget the limited overs. The build up to the 2022 Women’s ODI World Cup is about to begin.
The used pitch has been under the scanner, especially with captain Heather Knight’s disappointment palpable on not been provided a fresh pitch. This women’s Test match was not given enough attention, with a Gloucestershire vs Sussex T20 Blast game held last week.
Meanwhile, both the India men’s & women’s arrived together on June 3rd in Southampton and had been in quarantine since.
Test captain Mithali Raj has put her support behind multi-format series for women’s cricket like the Ashes, with a points system distributed across the three formats. India’s vice-captain Kaur is in a positive mindset with regards to this Test match despite lack of match practice, especially after receiving some words of advice with a conversation with Ajinkya Rahane.
Return for coach Ramesh Powar in this series as well.
Head-To-Head, Previous Matches, & Records
India have won their past three encounters (England 2006, England 2014, South Africa 2014) and they have a golden opportunity in this series. If they win this Test match, they will break the record for most consecutive Test wins in women’s cricket.
Long-term records do not mean much, but England has only won against India (1995) in 13 meetings. On the other hand, India have won two, both in England.
In fact, India in Tests are unbeaten in England —2 wins, 6 draws.
My Starting XIs
Lauren Winfield-Hill, 2. Tammy Beaumont, 3. Heather Knight*, 4. Georgia Elwiss, 5. Natalie Sciver, 6. Amy Jones (WK), 7. Fran Wilson, 8. Kate Cross, 9. Anya Shrubsole, 10. Katherine Brunt, 11. Sophie Ecclestone
Shikha Pandey’s omission in the South Africa series caught the public by surprise as she has been one of India’s most dependable bowlers in recent times. Expect the fast bowling trio – Pandey, experienced Jhulan Goswami, and Arundhati Reddy to make the ball talk during the Test series.
Mithali Raj debuted more than 22 years and has played a total of just 10 Test matches. She holds a stellar record in the limited opportunities—best of 214, 1-100, 4 50s, average of 51.00. Highest ODI run-scorer in women’s cricket, watch out for Raj in the ODI series in her final season as the 2022 World Cup will be her swansong.
The Young Brigade—Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Radha Yadav, Pooja Vastrakar, and Simran Bahadur—have immense potential. Although Shafali Verma is in the Test squad, it is unlikely she will get a break at the top with Mandhana-Raut-Jemimah-Mithali-Priya in front. A certainty in the T20Is, the explosive opener should receive her ODI debut in this series.
Tammy Beaumont was on another planet during the New Zealand series, with 231 runs in the ODIs (best of 88*) & 102 runs in the T20Is. 4 fifties in 6 innings. A class apart. She would be itching to convert to triple figures, and this Test match would be an ideal opportunity if she continues her form.
Lookout for the Shrubsole-Brunt combination. Katherine Brunt’s experience came to the fore with a player of the match performance in the 3rd T20I against NZ, England’s last match before this series. Anya Shrubsole’s name was etched in legends with an iconic performance in the close 2017 ODI World Cup final, coincidentally against India.
Knight-Sciver are key to this English middle order. Although they only have 7 and 5 Test caps to their names respectively, they are the senior pros in this lineup, having represented England in over 150 games each across formats. Knight has a Test century (157), while Sciver’s best is 88. Across formats, Knight has 3 centuries and 27 fifties, while Nat Sciver has 3 hundreds and 24 fifties to go along with her 118 wickets.
Home side England have the upper-hand in the Tests, although India will fight it out. The limited overs series should be much more competitive. I am especially excited for the ODI series—repeat of the 2017 ODI World Cup finals (also held in the same country).
Test: England 1-0
ODI: India 2-1
T20I: England 2-1
My gut feeling says that Punam Raut is going to be the key player in this tour. She had an outstanding series against South Africa, providing India the little bit of stability during the series.
Her stats in that series speak for herself: 1-100, 2-50s, 263 runs, and a tremendous average of 87.66.
Hoping her form continues.
Player of the Series/MVP
What are your predictions about the England Women Vs India Women 2021 series? Let us know in the COMMENTS section below!
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