The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced India Women’s team opener Smriti Mandhana as the ODI player of the year. The ICC also announced the women’s ODI and T20I teams of 2018 with India’s Harmanpreet Kaur as captain of the 20-over side. New Zealand’s Suzie Bates, on the flip side, was named as captain of the 50-over side. The selection was made by members of media and broadcasters taking into consideration players’ performance in the 2018 calendar year. Also Read - RR vx KXIP IPL 2020 Match Report: Sanju Samson, Rahul Tewatia Script Record Chase as Rajasthan Royals Beat Kings XI Punjab by 4 Wickets in Sharjah
Kaur has been rewarded for spearheading her side to the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 in West Indies in November. In that tournament, Kaur scored 183 runs at a strike-rate of 160.5, while in the 25 matches in the calendar year, she accumulated 663 runs at a strike-rate of 126.2. Kaur is ranked third in the ICC Women’s Player Rankings for T20I Batters.
Wheras Bates’ appointment as the ODI captain is a recognition of her contribution in inspiring her side to the second position in the ICC Women’s Championship after three rounds. In the seven ODIs this calendar year, Bates has scored 438 runs with two centuries and a half-century. Bates is presently ranked seventh in the ICC Women’s Players Rankings for ODI Batters.
Kaur was delighted to be appointed T20 captain when she said: “To be honest, it was really surprising for me. The last two years we did not get enough T20I matches to play and it was really tough for me to build that confidence in the team and show that self-belief that we can do well in T20Is. Credit goes to all team members, the way they worked hard and show that self-belief.
“This award means a lot to me to build my confidence, BCCI is showing confidence on me – that I can do well in the format and I am looking forward to doing well in the future,” she added.
Reacting to the news, Bates said: “Thank you very much to everyone who voted for the ICC team of the year. To be named captain is just an absolute honour. Obviously, I have been playing for a long time and stepped down from captaincy, but to be named the captain of a World XI is pretty special and something I will always remember.
“It would be nice one day if we got together to play as a group and to captain some of the superstars, but once again such a huge honour and congratulations to all the award winners for this year,” Bates added.
The 11-member women’s ODI side comprises players from seven countries, including two each from England (Tammy Beaumont and Sophie Ecclestone), India (Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav), New Zealand (Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine) and South Africa (Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp), and one player each from Australia (Alyssa Healy), Pakistan (Sana Mir) and Deandra Dottin (the Windies).
For Sana Mir, this is a second ICC recognition in as many months after her delivery to Ireland’s Laura Delany in the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 was voted as the Play of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018. Sana has been selected in the ICC squad following her 19 wickets in seven matches and is top-ranked in the ODI bowling table.
The T20I side boasts players from five countries, including four players from the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 champions Australia (Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner and Megan Schutt), three players from semi-finalists India (Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Poonam Yadav), two players from New Zealand (Suzie Bates and Leigh Kasperek) and one player each from Bangladesh (Rumana Ahmed) and England (Natalie Sciver).
Rumana is the first Bangladesh player to have been selected in the ICC squad. The right-arm leg-spinner has been the second most successful T20I bowler in the 2018 calendar year with 30 wickets in 24 matches, including four wickets in four matches in the ICC Women’s World T20 2018.
Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav are the two India girls who feature in both the ODI and T20I squads. Other players to find places in both the squads are Australia’s Healy and Bates of New Zealand.
(With ANI Inputs)