Rotation | Women’s Cricket Team of the Year: From Alice Capsey to the Kerr Sisters

It has been another great year for women’s cricket (is there ever a quiet year these days?) It started with an Ashes series and a World Cup over 50 in New Zealand, but the highlight was surely a first appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. However, only two Tests have been played, so this team is an all-format XI – with a slight bias in favor of Test performance. Perhaps this reflects The Spin’s Christmas wish to see more women’s multiday cricket in 2023, please!

1) Alyssa Healy (Australia)

She loves a World Cup final (see also the MCG in March 2020) and England had no answers for Healy is ridiculously good 170 in Christchurch in April. The highest individual score in any World Cup final (women’s or men’s), it was not just the round of the year, but one of the best ever. The rest of 2022 has been leaner for Healy than she might have liked, but after her record 509 World Cup races, she’s a no-brainer to be included in this squad.

2) Beth Mooney (Australia)

Do you remember Mooney breaking his jaw two weeks before Ashes and having to undergo emergency surgery? Nope? That’s because she played anyway – and reached two half centuries. She also averaged 101 in the ODIs in 2022 (yes, you read that right), and had the highest score with 61 in the Commonwealth Games final. Just call Lara Croft, women’s cricket.

Beth Mooney from Australia explains to a viewer where she broke her jaw
Beth Mooney from Australia explains to a viewer where she broke her jaw. Photography: Mark Evans/Getty Images

3) Alice Capsey (England)

Finally made his international debt in July, at just 17, by which time his brilliance was probably the English cricket’s worst-kept secret. Sealed the deal with a Half a century of 37 balls against South Africa in just her fourth match for England, becoming the first teenager to achieve the feat since Sarah Taylor. England will be desperate for them to recover from shoulder surgery in time for the World Cup in February.

4) Nat Sciver (England)

Had a phenomenal year with a bat in hand, ending the World Cup with two centuries against Australia, and mark an undefeated 169 in the Test against South Africa. Although she missed the entire Indian series, she still managed to break the record for most ODI points scored by an Englishwoman in a calendar year (833). She’s also a practical first-change player, taking 22 wickets across all formats in 2022. Don’t try to pressure her into captaincy, she’s already got enough to do!

5) Harmanpreet Kaur (India), captain

The Spin’s choice of skipper for our Team of the Year led an Indian team that exceeded expectations by winning silver at the Commonwealth Games and then securing a Historic ODI 3-0 win away against England in September. Also inflicted Australia’s only loss of the year in Mumbai in December, thanks to a super over. Remains a powerful danger with the bat – she 143 steps in Canterbury was a gigantic assault that had more than a few shades of Derby 2017.

6) Amelia Kerr (New Zealand)

After stepping away from cricket to focus on her mental health in mid-2021, Kerr returned to her best in New Zealand’s ODI series against India in early 2022, hitting three half centuries and an unbeaten 119 as the hosts beat their opponents. Continue to own the most effective googly in the world, bar none.

New Zealand's Amelia Kerr bowls in her first international T20 match against Bangladesh in 2022
New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr, in T20 action against Bangladesh, has the most effective googly of the game. Photography: Joe Allison/Getty Images

7) Tahlia McGrath (Australia)

There are meteoric rises and then there is McGrath’s career. After finding his way back to the Australia squad at the end of 2021, it took the all-rounder just 14 months to rise to the top of the ICC T20 batting rankings. She was central to her team’s triumph at the Commonwealth Games, despite contract covid before the final. The decision to appoint her vice-captain in November shows how much she is valued.

8) Marizanne Kapp (South Africa)

Probably would have won his place just for his magnificent 150 against England in the one-off test at Taunton in June – a stunning run considering it was Kapp’s (and South Africa’s) first test since November 2014. Add to the tally a five-wicket first run against the England in the World Cup, and an unbeaten 37 out of 33 in the Hundred final to help Oval Invincibles retain their title. The Spin would rather cower in a corner than face Kapp in a fight.

South Africa's Marizanne Kapp during day four of the test against England
South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp shoots during day four of the test against England. Photography: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK/Shutterstock

9) Sophie Ecclestone (England)

“Because she’s been around for a long time and been so consistent, sometimes you forget how good she is and what she’s achieved – you almost take it a bit for granted.” Heather Knight spoke for all of us when she summed up Ecclestone’s contribution to England in 2022, having broken the record for most wickets taken by a woman in a calendar year (final count: 56). She also took six for 36 in World Cup semi-finals against South Africa, made some practical contributions with the bat and was temporarily elevated to England vice-captain in a momentous year. Not a bad set of achievements.

10) Jess Kerr (New Zealand)

She may have taken fewer wickets than some, but if you look through all bowling measures in 2022, Kerr’s older sister comes out on top – a reward for Frank Sinatra’s economy, consistency and levels of swing. Missed the Commonwealth Games with a foot injury but had a decent Big Bash for Brisbane Heat after she stepped in as cover for Danni Wyatt and then Pooja Vastrakar.

11) Renuka Singh Thakur (India)

The 26-year-old fast thrower announced herself to the world stage in stunning fashion in the Commonwealth Games opener, single-handedly downing Australia to 34 for four in a spellbinding display of stitching motion that made for Healy, Mooney, McGrath and Meg Lanning. Jhulan Goswami may have retired in 2022 but the future of Indian bowling is secured in Thakur’s hands.

This is an excerpt from the Guardian’s weekly cricket email, The Spin. To subscribe, simply visit this page and follow the instructions.

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