The ongoing men’s ODI World Cup in India is approaching the “business end” as the sporting cliche goes, and all eyes are on it. While we are all understandably going gung-ho about it, there have been a few major developments in the women’s game as well; with one of the greats of the sport retiring and some enthralling cricket in one of the world’s biggest T20 leagues.
We have you covered with some of the biggest updates.
A MEGastar calls it a day
Perhaps the biggest news of all, Australia’s Meg Lanning, arguably cricket’s greatest ever captain, called time on her international career at the age of 31. In an emotional announcement of her retirement, Lanning admitted that she “does not have the spark” anymore to keep going at the highest level, reflecting on her legendary career.
Lanning made her debut in Aussie colours in 2010 as an 18-year-old. She became Australia’s youngest-ever captain after assuming the role in the T20I side in early 2014, before being named as the cross-format captain, later that year. Lanning went on to lead Australia to seven World Cup titles, comprising five T20 World Cups and two ODI World Cups.
Alongside rewriting the captaincy history books, Meg Lanning, the batter, also owned the global stage. Lanning is the only Australian batter to score 3,000 runs in women’s T20Is, and the current leader for most hundreds (15) in women’s ODIs.
While an able replacement in Alyssa Healy is set to take over the captaincy reins, Lanning’s perfect mix of a calming presence and authoritative style of batting will be missed. At least fans will get to watch her compete in domestic and league cricket.
Mooney, Devine lead Perth Scorchers’ charge in WBBL
The Perth Scorchers are currently leading a very competitive league table in the 2023 Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) with 14 points in 10 games. Sydney Thunder are just behind in second with 13 points, while the Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat both have 12 points, and all three teams have played a game less than the table toppers.
Beth Mooney (L) and Sophie Devine.
The format of the WBBL is such wherein the knockout stage comprises directly the final and not even semifinals, which means that only the top two teams at the end of the league stage will go through. This makes the battle at the top of the standings all the more exciting going forward.
On the batting front, the ever reliable Aussie opener Beth Mooney and her Scorchers teammate and captain Sophie Devine have the stage ablaze, with over 400 runs each, and counting. Alongside the duo, the top run-getters list which features big names in Chamari Athapaththu, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Ellyse Perry, among others, also includes uncapped Australian Katie Mack, who scored 330 runs in her first 9 matches of this edition.
Interestingly, Melbourne Stars duo Anabel Sutherland and Sophie Day are joint-leaders of the list of highest wicket-takers with 19 wickets each in 10 games, while their team is currently languishing at 7th place in the eight-team tournament.
Sophie Ecclestone returns to England squad for India tour
In what will be England women’s first away tour of the year, star left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone will be part of both the T20I and Test squads to face India in Mumbai early next month. Ecclestone underwent surgery in September after dislocating her shoulder during The Hundred.
Alice Capsey, 19, who has already impressed in white-ball cricket, looks set to make her Test debut in the one-off contest against India. Three 22-year-olds are among the youngsters in the team: keeper-batter Bess Heath, all-rounder Danielle Gibson and fast bowler Lauren Filer. While Heath has been named in both the T20I and Test squads, Gibson is part of the T20I squad, and Filer is in the Test team. Fast bowler Mahika Gaur, only 17 years old, could make her T20I debut.
England and India will face-off in three T20Is before the lone Test match, which will be the first women’s Test on Indian soil since 2014.
Date set for WPL Season 2 auction
The auction for the second season of the Women’s Premier League in India will be held on December 9, as reported by ESPNCricinfo. After a highly successful inaugural season, each team will also get an additional purse of INR 1.5 crore (USD $180,228 approximately) to strengthen their respective squads. For teams that did not utilise their entire balance of auction funds last season, they will get the INR 1.5 crore amount in addition to their unutilised funds.
Mumbai Indians won the inaugural season of the WPL.
The organisers, BCCI, are yet to confirm the dates for the second season of the WPL, and it would be interesting to see whether the tournament is held in a single city like last time or a home/away format like the men’s IPL.