Today we take a look at the greatest 76 women cricketers of all-time.
From legendary players like Belinda Clark and Karen Rolton, to modern-day superstars such as Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry, this list celebrates the best of the best in women’s cricket history. With their astonishing batting, bowling and fielding abilities, these players continue to inspire young girls around the world to take up this sport.
Recently, we ranked the 155 greatest men’s cricketers of all-time. With the Women’s Premier League finally here and the 2023 T20 Women’s World Cup in full flow, it is time we reflect upon the 76 greatest women cricketers of all-time across eras.
A total of 144 women cricketers were considered (entire list at the bottom), from which 76 players were chosen along with 24 honorable mentions.
Charlotte Edwards, Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Enid Bakewell, Mithali Raj, Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning, Belinda Clark, Betty Wilson, Claire Taylor, and Jhulan Goswami are adjudged as the Top 10 greatest female cricketers in the history of the game.
From the 76 greatest women cricketers, 20 are from Australia, 19 are from England, 9 from India, 8 from New Zealand, 7 from South Africa, 5 from West Indies & Pakistan each, 2 from Sri Lanka, and 1 from Bangladesh.
Those Who Just Missed Out: 78-100 Greatest Women Cricketers
Nicola Browne (Australia – Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2008), Player of the 2010 T20 WC)
Shanel Daley (West Indies – Shortlisted for ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year (2013))
Gaby Lewis (Ireland – Shortlisted for ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year (2021))
Fatima Sana (Pakistan – Shortlisted for ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2021))
Aimee Watkins (New Zealand – Most Runs in the 2009 T20 World Cup)
Holly Colvin (England – Most Wickets in the 2009 T20 World Cup)
Honorable Mentions: Gillian Smith, Poonam Yadav, Shubhangi Kulkarni, Raelee Thompson, Javeria Khan, Sune Luus, Ayabonga Khaka, Jess Jonassen, Isa Guha, Nooshin Al Khadeer, Kate Cross, Sajjida Shah, Sharon Tredia, Shirley Hodges
Future Stars: Sophie Ecclestone, Natthakan Chantam, Jemimah Rodrigues, Leigh Kasperek
List of 76 Greatest Women Cricketers of All Time
Without further ado, here is the list of the 76 greatest women cricketers in history (in reverse order).
*Note: ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year was renamed as the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award from 2017 onward
76. Katey Martin (New Zealand, 2003-2022)
Role: Wicketkeeper, Right hand bat
Teams: New Zealand, Otago, Tornadoes
Known For: Longest NZ ODI career after Debbie Hockley (18 years, 112 days). Over 96 catches and 43 stumpings in international cricket.
Known For: 4th highest ODI WC wickets – 36 (second highest wicket taker in the 2000 ODI WC). With 102 ODI wickets, ESPNCricinfo declares she was “one of the most successful bowlers in the women’s game.”
Known For: 2856 ODI runs at 31.18 with 18 fifties and one century. According to ESPNCricinfo, when Chopra was batting, it was “difficult to keep memories of David Gower out of the the mind…’lazy elegance.’ “
Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2006)
Known For: Most ODIs for Australia (144). Scored over 5000 international runs across formats, played 251 international games, and had 3 centuries & 30 fifties to her name. Highest score by a #6 batter (90)
Teams: New Zealand, Wellington, Brisbane Heat, London Spirit, Velocity
Known For: At the age of 17, she scored the highest individual ODI women’s cricket score (232* (145) vs Ireland – also took a 5-fer in that match), Shortlisted for ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2022)
*Kerr is most-likely to rise up the list and break more records as she is just 22-years old so far.
Known For: First woman to score 1000 ODI runs for Australia. Although she scored 2 hundreds and 8 fifties at 57.44 average in just 23 ODIs, she was forced to retire at the age of 27 due to a recurring knee injury.
Role: Allrounder (Right hand bat, Right arm off break)
Teams: Bangladesh, Trailblazers
Known For: #1 ICC T20I bowling & Allrounder ranking. She has played most of Bangladesh women’s international matches, captaining them in a majority of them. ESPNCricinfo described her as “synonymous with Bangladesh’s women cricket.”
Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World (2018), Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award (2018, 2021), ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2018)
Role: Left-handed opening batter
Teams: India, Maharashtra, India Green, Western Storm, Trailblazers, Sydney Thunder, Brisbane Heat, Southern Brave
Known For: Catalyst for India’s transformation in limited overs from the 2017 ODI World Cup. Most sought after player in the inaugural WPL. Shortlisted for ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year (2021, 2022)
Known For: 5th highest ODI wicket taker of all-time (170) and highest for England, 6th highest T20I wicket-taker (111). Took 8/84 in the 2005 Ashes. Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2006, 2010)
Known For: Most wickets for Pakistan in ODIs, 2nd most in T20Is for Pakistan. In 2018, she was #1 in the ODI rankings. Wasim Khan, PCB’s CEO at the time, said, that Mir “has been the face of Pakistan women’s cricket for many years and the real source of inspiration for the young generation of women cricketers.”
Known For: Player of the 2014 T20 WC, Player of the WC Final (2017 ODI WC – 6/46), #6 on ODI WC wicket-taker list (34), Shortlisted for Women’s T20I Player of the Decade, ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2013)
Known For:Wisden remarks that Snowball was “one of the major figures of women’s cricket for two decades” and “generally accepted as the outstanding wicketkeeper of her generation.” Also played squash and lacrosse internationally.
Teams: West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago, Trinbago Knight Riders
Known For: Most T20I wickets (125), 3rd most joint ODI career wickets (180), Joint most wickets in a calendar year (37), Shortlisted for ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2012). Debuted for West Indies at age 15.
Known For: 1935 runs at 49.61 in Tests & 2121 ODIs at 42.42 average. Total of 10 centuries across formats. Highest scorer at the 1993 ODI WC, helping England win the title.
Records: 3rd Most runs scored in Women’s ODI World Cup (1299), Most catches in ODI WC (19). Most Test matches for a women cricketer (27), most Test runs in a year (531), and oldest to score a Test century at 39
ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2013, 2016), Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World (2015), ICC T20I Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2016)
Role: Allrounder (Right Arm Bat, Right Arm Medium)
Teams: New Zealand, Otago, Falcons, Adelaide Strikers, Sydney Sixers, Trailblazers, Oval Invincibles, Perth Scorchers
Known For: Scored 168 (105) vs Pakistan and 4/7 vs South Africa in the 2009 ODI WC as NZ made the finals. Represented NZ in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in basketball.
Records: Most T20I runs (3683), Player of the Tournament (2013 ODI WC), New Zealand captain (76 matches), 2nd most career centuries (12), 4th highest career ODI runs (5114) and 4th most 50+ scores (40), 5th highest ODI World Cup run scorer (1151). Most catches in WODI history (78), Joint-most ODIs for NZ (145), 2nd most T20Is of all-time (140)
Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Decade, ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Decade, and ICC’s T20I Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2013, 2018)
Known For: Her longevity. Played her first match at the age of 17 and last match at age of 38. She was the first woman to score 4000 ODI runs and play 100 ODIs. Played in New Zealand’s only ODI World Cup win in 2000
Records: Most runs scored in ODI World Cups (1501), Player of the 1997 WC Final (79 (121))
Role: Allrounder (Right arm off break, Right hand bat)
Teams: Australia, New South Wales, Sydney Sixers
Known For: Scored 2728 runs in ODI cricket, including 2 hundreds to go along with 146 ODI wickets. First woman to take 100 wickets & score 1000 ODI runs. Part of the 2005 and 2013 ODI WC winning team. Australia’s highest wicket-taker in the 2009 ODI WC.
Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2007, 2008) and for ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year (2012)
ICC Cricket Hall of Famer, ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2006)
Role: Left Hand Bat, Left arm medium pace
Teams: Australia, South Australia
Known For: According to ESPNCricinfo, “Rolton enjoyed a bumper year in 2006, sealing her status as one of the leading inspirational figures in women’s cricket to date.”
Records: Player of the Tournament (2005 ODI World Cup), Player of the Final (2005 WC – 107*(128)), Joint 4th career 100s (8), 4th most 50+ scores (41). Scored a 209 in Tests (highest at that time). Played hocked in the off-season.
Known For: Her pace. One of the fastest women’s cricket has ever produced (75 mph). First women to breach the 150 ODI wickets mark, she is now the 3rd most career wickets of all-time. (180). Shortlisted for the ICC Female Player of the Year (2006). An economy of 3.01 in ODIs.
Known For: One of Indian women’s cricket pioneer and one of the greatest fast bowlers. Was inspired to play cricket as a ball girl in the 1997 ODI WC and used to travel from Chakdaha to Kolkata to practice
2nd Most ODIs played (204), Most Career ODI Wickets (253), Most Wickets in the ODI World Cup (43), Shortlisted for ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Decade
ICC Hall of Famer, Wisden Cricketer of the Year (2009), ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2009)
Role: Wicketkeeper, Right hand Batter
Teams: England, Thames Valley
Known For: Scored 156 at Lord’s, surpassing Viv Richards’ 138*. With 1030 Test runs and 4101 ODI runs, she goes down as one of England’s best. First women to be inducted in Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year awards.
Player of the Tournament (2009 ODI & T20I WC) Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2007, 2008), Joint 4th career 100s across formats (8)
Known For: Martin Williamson from ESPNCricinfo’s reckson’s that Wilson was “one of women cricket’s greatest players, and her tag as the female Bradman is not untoward.” She was close to senior cricket by the team she was 16, but due to World War, she had to wait for another decade.
Record: In her 11 official Tests, scored 862 runs at 57.46 with 3 hundreds & 3 fifties. She took 68 wickets as well with the best of 7/7 and a brilliant bowling average of 11.80.
Other Records: Player of the Final (2000 WC Final – 91 (102)), 5th highest ODI run-scorer (4844), 3rd most matches played as ODI captain (101, won 83). At the time of her retirement, she had the most ODI & Test runs.
Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World (2014), ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year (2014), ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2015)
Role: Middle Order Batter
Known For: Genius batter for sure, but Lanning will go down as one of the greatest captains in cricket’s history (40 wins in 42 ODIs). An Australian icon.
Records: 2nd most T20I runs (3297), Youngest Ever ODI centurion for Australia at 18 (broke Ricky Ponting’s record by three years), youngest Australian captain, two of the highest women’s T20I score (126, 133*). Most career centuries across formats (15), 5th most matches as ODI captain (75, including 66 wins and record streak) and most matches as T20I captain (95).
Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Decade, ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Decade, ICC Women’s T20I Player of the Decade, ICC Women’s T20I Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2013, 2018), ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2013)
Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World (2017)
Role: Top Order Batter
Teams: India, Air India Women, India Blue, Asia Women XI, Velocity
Known For: India’s greatest cricketer and best WODI batter of all-time. Debuted at age 16, she became the first woman cricketer to play for two decades. Led India to the 2005 and the 2017 ODI World Cup finals. Her contribution to rise of women’s cricket in India is immense.
Records: Most ODIs played (232), Most matches as captain (155), Most matches won as captain (89), Most runs in ODI career (7805), Most ODI 50+ scorers (71), 2nd most runs in the ODI World Cup (1321)
Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Decade, ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Decade, ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year (2014), ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2014)
ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Decade, ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Decade, ICC Women’s T20I Player of the Decade, Wisden Leading Woman Cricketer in the World (2016, 2019), Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award (2017, 2019), Wisden Cricketer of the Year (2020), ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2019)
Role: Allrounder (Right arm fast bowler, right hand middle order batter)
Teams: Australia, Australia U-23s, New South Wales, Birmingham Phoenix, Sydney Sixers
Known For: Youngest Australian to play for the ICC WC and the FIFA WC. Her Test double century (213) is one of the finest in women’s cricket. She has also written five books.
Some of her records include 3rd most T20I wickets (120), 5th most number of T20Is played (134), and has played every T20I WC. Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2010).
Member of the winning squad of the ODI World Cup (2013, 2022), T20I World Cup (2010, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2020), Commonwealth Games (2022)
Role: Allrounder (Right Hand Bat, Left Arm Slow Orthodox)
Teams: England, Nottinghamshire, East Midland
Known For: Scored back-to-back Test centuries. First England Test cricketer to score a 100 and take a 10-fer in the same match; Scored the most runs in the inaugural 1973 Cricket World Cup, including a 100 in the final as England took the trophy home.
Known For: Scored 3 Test Centuries and captained England to the inaugural 1973 ODI World Cup victory. Flint was England’s captain for more than a decade. When she retired, had the most Test runs in women’s cricket. Best of 179 in Tests (521-minute innings). Considered one of the pioneers of women’s cricket. Also played for the England field hockey team as a goalkeeper.
ICC Cricket Hall of Famer, Wisden Cricketer of the Year (2014), ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2008)
Role: Top Order Batter
Teams: England, Kent, Northern Districts, Western Australia, South Australia, Perth Scorchers, Adelaide Strikers, Southern Vipers
Known For: At her debut, Edwards was the youngest woman to play for England at 16. With 13 international centuries, player of the 2012 T20 WC, an innings of 173* in an ODI World Cup, three-time Ashes winning captain, WT20 winning captain, and ODI winning captain, she goes down as the greatest female cricketer of all-time. Won numerous County titles with Kent as well.
Some of her other records include2nd Most career ODI runs (5992), 2nd most ODI fifties (55), 3rd Most centuries (9), 4th Most runs in the ODI World Cup (1231), 3rd Most ODIs played (191), 2nd Most matches as ODI captain (117, won 72) and T20I captain (93 matches, won 68).
Shortlisted for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year (2009, 2011), ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year (2014), ICC Women’s ODI Cricketer of the Year (2013, 2014)
There is no doubt that the current crop of incredible female athletes will continue to inspire generations to come and shape the future of cricket, but we should remember, none of these would have been possible without the generations of cricketers that preceded them.
These remarkable players have set a high bar for those who are willing to strive and succeed in this amazing sport we all love.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the best female cricketer?
Charlotte Edwards, Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Enid Bakewell, Mithali Raj, Ellyse Perry, Meg Lanning, Belinda Clark, Betty Wilson, Claire Taylor, and Jhulan Goswami are adjudged as the 10 greatest women cricketers of all-time.
Who is the most famous female cricketer?
Ellyse Perry is the most famous female cricketer, followed by Smriti Mandhana.
Who is the greatest women’s cricketer of all time?
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint has remained an important woman’s cricketer for over twenty years. During her time playing in the early women’s game she revolutionized the cricketing world. She helped to create and promote the women’s World Cup and was involved in a number of administrative aspects of cricket. Without Heyhoe-Flint, talented cricketers may have been tainted by a lack of international competition.
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.
India saw lots of Beth Mooney. A constant source of runs for the Australian team. With scores of 59 (tour match), 125* & 52 (ODI), 34 & 61 (T20I), she was the highest run scorer across the three formats. Mooney, who had replaced Rachael Haynes in the T20I squad, has now risen to #1 ranking. Her best innings came in the 2nd ODI, taking Australia from 52/4 in the 16th over to 275/5 on the last ball. She stitched two partnerships—126 (137) with McGrath & 97* (71) with Nicola Carey.
Tahlia McGrath & Darcie Brown were the finds of the series for Australia.
McGrath was an all-round package with contributions of 74 & 3/45, 47 & 1/46 (ODI), 28 (Test), and 42* & 44* to finish things off in the T20Is.
Darcie Brown set the tone for Australia in the first ODI. With Perry not back at her best with the ball, Brown took responsibility with a match-winning 4/33 in only her 2nd ODI, limiting India to 225. Hannah Darlington, the debutant also chipped in with a couple of wickets.
The series cannot be summarized without the contributions of Sophie Molineux. She was consistently among the wickets and stifled India’s run rate in the middle overs, taking 11 wickets in total. The most courageous moment of the series came in the 3rd ODI when Molineux got hit in the lip and started bleeding. She went off the field, but came back with her face bandaged to finish her quota of overs. However, it could not prevent the end of the streak.
Jhulan Goswami might be coming to the end of her career, but she still has what it takes at the international level. In the first ODI, she scored 20 to get India to a respectable total of 225 after a brief collapse. In the 2nd ODI, her batting again came at the fore with 28* but was at the receiving end of an umpiring no-ball call which resulted in Australia’s last ball victory. Joy and sorrow within minutes. Redemption soon followed in the 3rd ODI with a player-of-the-match performance—3/37 & 8* with a last-ball six. For her all-round performance, Elyse Villani on commentary started #JusticeForJhulan to get Goswami to play T20 cricket.
Mandhana & Rodrigues came back in style after doubts on their ability. Mandhana’s 127 in the Test match and 52 in the T20I reinforced her class after a lean season. Jemimah Rodrigues was the story of The Hundred as the 2nd highest scorer with 249 runs, 3 50s, and the best innings of the tournament with that 92*. She continued her form in the T20I, scoring 49* in a rain-effected game.
With Jemimah out of the ODI side, debutant Yastika Bhatia grabbed her opportunity with scores of 35 & 64 in the ODIs. Her fluency and promotion at #3 meant India did not miss Jemimah or inured Harmanpreet Kaur much. Good foil for stalwart Mithali Raj.
Broken Cricket Dream
Australia’s Record ODI Streak Breaks
Jhulan-Mithali’s Final Test Match?
Australia Women Vs India Women 2021 Series Awards
Where Do They Go From Here?
The much awaited ODI World Cup will commence in March 2022. Australia plays its first match against arch-rivals England on March 4th, while India begin their journey on the 5th. Here is the detailed schedule.
So what did I think of the series?
Do not go by the scoreline, but it was much closer than expected. In each match, India competed most of the game, either falling narrowly or just before the end. In the Tests, India actually dominated (if only for a 5th Day…).
However there is still a long way to go. In parallel to men’s cricket, this era of Indian-Australian rivalry resembles the early 2000s. Australia are at the top of the world across formats & have just completed a famous streak. India have a new fanbase with good shows in the recent World Cups. Their best show can defeat any team on their day, but it might still take a decade to establish a decent bench strength like Australia.
March 8th, 2020 with 86,174 spectators. The crescendo beginning in the 2017 Women’s ODI World Cup peaked on that day in the World T20 final between Australia and India. However, progress has stalled due to the COVID-19 break. The post-pandemic stats below show how the counterparts stacked between March 2020 & January 2021:
Maximum possible days of international cricket scheduled (5 days maximum per tests)
Men: 128 days
Women: 16 days (including 5 Austria-Germany T20Is)
Total Matches Played (international + T20 Leagues)
Women’s cricket resumed in September 2020 as West Indies toured England. Later in the year, New Zealand played against Australia & England, and Pakistan visited South Africa. It took Indian women an entire year before playing against South Africa in March 2021. Proteas won the series comfortably 4-1 (ODIs) & 2-1 (T20I).
Although lack of match practice, domestic tournaments, & national camps was the reason for India’s defeat, highly regarded coach WV Raman was the casualty, alleging a “smear campaign” against him. Replacement Ramesh Powar, who famously had a fallout with Mithali Raj in 2018, was picked as the head coach again.
Stark Payment Gap
Although women cricketers have seen a marked increase in revenue since 2017, it is nearly not enough (with New Zealand, England, India, & Australia expanding central contracts).
BCCI’s latest contracts caused uproar. The highest paid men’s bracket is worth fourteen times as much as the highest paid women’s bracket.
Grade A+, consisting of Kohli, Sharma, and Bumrah earn about 7 crores (INR) or about $964,000 (USD). Grade A earn 5 crores ($689,000), B with 3 crores ($413,000), & C, consisting of the likes of Kuldeep & Gill, earn around 1 crore ($138,000).
Their counterparts—Mandhana, Kaur, & Poonam (Grade A) earn 50 lakhs INR ($68,000), while stalwarts like Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami (Grade B) plummet down to 30 lakhs ($41,000). This is comparable to the current standard around the world, but things do need to change.
What’s worse? World T20 finalist prize money worth $500,000 has not been paid yet, 14 months later. It took Isabelle Westbury’s Telegraph article & subsequent social media outrage to get BCCI to act, finally paying the dues.
The most profitable cricket board needs to allocate resources properly. The least they can do is avoid media stunts and focus on tangible progressive changes.
Hope In Times of Uncertainty
There is still hope, however.
Indian women will play two Test matches (last Test in 2014) this year, one each against England & Australia. The Test in Australia will be a day-night affair, which adds another layer of excitement.
Ireland & Scotland women are also back in action right now with a T20 series. New Zealand’s England tour in September is the only other scheduled series prior to the ODI World Cup (March 2022).
The Hundred Is the Savior
The Hundred in July this year promises to be a game-changer for women’s cricket.
All men & women’s game will be held on the same day on the same ground, will be televised (including free-to-air games), and prize money will be shared evenly between the winners of the men’s & women’s tournaments. It has the potentialize to revolutionize the women’s game and become a template for other T20 leagues to follow.
Even Indian players have been given the green signal to participate in the Women’s Hundred & the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
When Will the Attitudes Change Towards Women’s Cricket?
Australia, England, New Zealand are prime examples of how to recruit the future of women’s cricket, with efforts visible in the WBBL & New Zealand’s Super Smash tournaments.
Yet, there is still a long way to go. Each national board should prioritize women’s cricket, invest accordingly in the infrastructure, and work together with other nations to uplift standards.
After a year of no cricket, women’s cricket finally restarted in India. Although the series ended with 4-1 and 2-1 to South Africa, there were positives for both teams.
Lizelle Lee’s blew India away with a whirlwind series, Shabnim Ismail continued to show why she is one of the leading fast bowlers in the world, and Anneke Bosch made full use of her opportunities.
While it seems that Women’s IPL is not going to become a reality anytime soon, India had positives as well.
India added another feather to Mithali Raj’s & Jhulan Goswami’s record breaking careers, witnessed Punam Raut’s second coming & return of Mansi Joshi, and saw the rise of youngsters in Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Monica Patel, & Radha. The experienced trio of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Deol, & Deepti Sharma chipped in as well, but lower order power hitting & Jemimah Rodrigues’ ODI form remains a concern.
For Video Highlights/Scorecards, commentary on Women’s IPL, & emerging players, keep on reading ahead.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad – 4 wickets (best of 3/9, 4.75 economy)
Shabnim Ismail – 4 wickets (best of 3/14, 8.20 economy)
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 T20I Series Stats
Punam Raut was revelation in this series with scores of 10, 62*, 77, 104*, & 10. Debuting 12 years ago with 72 ODIs & an average in the 30s, she was already a known name in the line up. Before this series, Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, & Jhulan Goswami were sure starters for the Indian Women’s ODI team. Add Punam Raut to that list after this breakthrough series. Could be a long term #3 option.
Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami once again displayed their worth in this ODI team. Although she had no centuries to her name this series, Mithali Raj consistently steadied the ship with scores of 50, 36, 45, and 79*. In the process, she became the first Indian women and second overall to cross 10,000 runs across formats. Legend. The other stalwart, Jhulan Goswami, came to the party as well with a match winning 4/42 in the second ODI.
Shafali Verma gave India the much-needed blazing starts in the T20I hitting 8 sixes altogether, with the 60*(30) in the 3rd T20I the best of the lot. Now the #1 ranked T20I batter. Time for ODI debut?
If there was one player that was the difference between the two sides, it was Lizelle Lee and the top order. Usually one match winning knock in a series is a great achievement, but Lizelle came up with 83*, 132*, 69, & 70 across formats. Brilliant. When Lee did not perform, either the others in the top order Laura Wolvaardt (80 & 53) and Lara Goodall (59) came to the fore or South Africa women lost.
The Proteas found a new winner in Anneke Bosch with two player of the match performances. With Mignon Du Preez & Sune Luus chipping in and van Niekerk on an injury break, South Africa might be a dark horse for the next World Cup.
Shabnim Ismail & the fast bowling unit were impressive yet again. Although Ismail was the only one with the wickets, Khaka & Kapp kept the runs in the check, limiting India to 177, 248, 266, and 188.
No Women’s IPL yet again & Jemimah Rodrigues’ ODI form
Van Niekerk’s Out of Action – Missing out on a wonderful overseas series win
India Vs South Africa Women 2021 Series Awards
Where Do They Go From Here?
At this point, except the upcoming Australia vs New Zealand Women series coming up, there are no upcoming international fixtures till ODI World Cup in March 2022. The only professional cricket seems to be The Hundred in the UK this summer. Promises to be a game changer for Women’s cricket.
Another setback has happened with reports of no IPL in 2021 (with suggestions that this was done due to the ‘lack of depth’ and result of the South Africa series).
If the result of this series indeed had a direct impact on the WIPL decision, then let us reflect back. Were India really that bad this series? Not really. They actually improved over the course of the series. 177, 160/1 (won), 248 (lost only by D/L), and 266. In the final T20I, chased 113 with 9 wickets and 9 overs in hand. If not for Lizelle Lee’s brilliance, the score line would have been much closer.
Also if the national cricket board does not give the team a chance for an entire year after the team reached the final of a World T20, then it is not the players’ fault. It is the administration’s lack of urgency, vision, & communication.
If not now, when? Mithali Raj & Jhulan Goswami are on the verge of retirements, and it would be a shame if they are not part of the first iteration of this imaginary tournament. Here are my thoughts on the positives that Indian cricket can gain from the WIPL:
Foster fanbases & transfer experience to the next generation of Indian players
Intermingling of domestic Indian players with international stars and coaches, which has clearly been a feature of the
Financial Growth, which can be reinvested to grow the women’s game in India and improve the standard of women’s domestic cricket in the long run.
Cultural and financial awareness through the WIPL in the form of TV and social media can help make women’s sports a potential career in India
Bring talented youngsters in the mix
Narrowing down the gap between Australia-England-New Zealand and the rest of the countries in women’s cricket. This will also give an opportunity to Associate nations like the rising Thailand team.
Sure maybe 8 teams with 30 players each may be two far, but just 4 games in the Women’s T20 Challenge is a disgrace. Start with 4-6 teams and grow it little by little each year.
Today’s Scenario: Mithali Raj Lifts the 2017 Cricket World Cup
In our segment Just Imagine, we explore how a specific moment in cricket could have lasting ripple effects. Going back in time, we ask a simple question: What Would Happened if…? and reflect on its consequences.
Since the Women T20 Challenge is in full flow among the teams—Trailblazers, Velocity, and the Supernovas, we imagine what would have happened if India had not collapsed against England in the 2017 Cricket World Cup Final?
The 2017 Cricket World Cup was a watershed moment in several ways for women’s cricket. It was widely broadcasted and viewed, the matches were highly competitive, several remarkable individual performances were on show, and to cap it off—an intense final.
The hosts were favorite to win the trophy, while India captured the imagination of the world during the tournament.
In the group stages, India had won 5/7 games while brushing Australia aside in the semi-finals thanks to Harmanpreet Kaur’s magnificent 171*—maybe the best world cup innings by an Indian in a semi-final, certainly in the last decade. On the other hand, England squeaked past the Proteas with 2 balls to spare. Their only defeat in the tournament coming at the hand of India via Smriti Mandana’s elegant 90.
The final was a classic low-scoring thriller. Ebbs and flows throughout.
England scored 228/7. In response, Mandana and Raj fell cheaply before Punam Raut and Kaur stabilized and registered 50s.
Chasing 229, India are sitting comfortably at 191-3.
38 needed off 44 balls. Punam Raut 86* (114), Veda Krishnamurthy 28* (28). Then, next ball, there is an appeal for LBW…
What Actually Happened:
42. 5 Shrubsole to Raut OUT:
Punam has asked for a review but the umpire says sorry, you took too long.Do England have wink of an opportunity? This was the wrong shot. Length ball sliding in from wide of the crease, Punam plays all around the delivery. Looked to work it square when he could’ve played in down the ground. Hit on the knee roll. That would’ve gone on to hit the stumps. Has she done enough though?
If Punam Raut had straight batted the shot, or if the DRS review was called in time, and the decision (magically) overturned, what would have happened?
Punam Raut hits an unbeaten century in the final. Veda seals the deal with an exquisite six.
Jhulam Goswami, the star with 3 wickets on the final, and captain Mithali Raj retire as World Cup winners. The 2017 squad return as legends. Their stories now etched in stone along with the 1983 and 2011.
The BCCI want to capitalize as usual.
They have a template—2007 T20 World Cup and the 2008 IPL. Upon the Indian men’s victory, the experiment of IPL turned into an unprecedented success, changing the global cricket game forever.
They have an opportunity again.
The Women’s IPL launches in 2018. All the world cup heroes are in their prime. Raj captains the Chennai Super Kings, Harmanpreet the marquee player for Kings XI Punjab, and Mandhana starring for the Mumbai Indians. With foreign players such as Heather Knight, Nat Sciver, and the world’s greatest Ellyse Perry, the WIPL is a financial and global success.
This T20 experience gained helps Indian women win the 2020 T20 World Cup defeating Australia in their background in front of a 86,174 crowd at the MCG.
Reflection – Inaction Trumps Imagination
Well, things did not turn out that way, did it?
Winning and losing is part and parcel of the game. Yes, one moment can change histories, but sometimes if action is taken in the right time, it could pay dividends as well.
India’s performance had already delighted audiences around the world and Goswami-Mithali-Harmanpreet-Mandana were household names.
Why then, has the WIPL not been put into action?
It did not need to be an 8 team tournament. A 5-6 team tournament would be wonderful as well. In 3 years, teams would have stabilized, rivalries and fanbase would have fostered, and ultimately, women’s cricket would have benefitted.
Instead, we are watching the 3rd T20 Women’s challenge as an afterthought of a 56 match exhausting Men’s IPL, just taking a break before the Playoffs. Meanwhile, most of the foreign players like Heather Knight, Alyssa Healy, and Ellyse Perry are employing their trade at the WBBL, and we are just waiting for the Hundredfor a competitive world T20 women’s league.
With the likes of Shefali Verma, Deepti Sharma, and Jemimah Rodrigues, India’s future is still bright, but by the time WIPL commences, India women’s stars would have already retired.