On the back of their World Cup success in 2017, three England Women cricketers have been named in the annual ‘Cricketers of the Year’ by Wisden Almanac. Anya Shrubsole, whose 6 for 46 turned out to be the star act in the final against India, captain Heather Knight and all-rounder Natalie Sciver, found themselves sharing the honour with West Indian batsman, Shai Hope and Essex pacer, Jamie Porter, in the annual list.
The World Cup medal winning trio join Claire Taylor (2009) and Charlotte Edwards (2014) as the only women cricketers to feature in the Almanac’s ‘Cricketers of the Year’ citation. The Almanac will be published on April 12th and Lawrence Booth, Editor of the Wisden Almanac, while writing about this year’s choices said: “This year, Wisden includes three women among its Five Cricketers – all members of England’s World Cup-winning squad.
“When Heather Knight lifted the World Cup at Lord’s in late July, it was the culmination of a personal tour de force that helped change women’s cricket for ever. Not only had she captained England with aplomb throughout the tournament, but her 364 runs at an average of 45 – including a century against Pakistan – were central to their success.
“No stroke in 2017 was more memorable than Nat Sciver’s deliberate deflection between her legs, instantly christened the Natmeg. But she was more than a one-trick pony. She hit 369 runs in the tournament at an average of 46 and a strike-rate of 107, including hundreds against Pakistan and New Zealand, took three for three against West Indies, and scored a half-century in the final against India.
“The World Cup was slipping away from England when Anya Shrubsole embarked on a trophy-winning spell of five for 11. She finished with figures of six for 46, the best in a World Cup final, and the status of a national hero. That followed her winning hit in the semi-final against South Africa, which England won by two wickets in the last over.”
West Indies middle-order batsman Hope was in prolific form during his team’s tour of England in 2017 and his twin hundreds in Headingley secured a famous win over England. It was also the first time in 534 first-class matches that a batsman had made hundreds in both innings at that venue.
“Shai Hope produced one of the individual performances of the year,” said Booth. “After West Indies had been thrashed in the first Test at Edgbaston, Hope made 147 and 118 not out to inspire them to a famous win in the second at Headingley. He was the first player in 534 first-class matches to score two hundreds in a game there, instantly making him the West Indian wicket all opposition attacks craved most.”
Leading the Essex bowling attack, the 24-year old Porter enjoyed a breakthrough season, grabbing 75 wickets in Division One at a stunning average of just 16, as he helped his side secure the County Championship title – their first since 1992.
There was good news for the Indian fans as national captain, Virat Kohli, was named as the ‘leading cricketer of the World’ for a second successive year. The 29-year old batsman amassed 2,818 runs across all formats of the game in 2017, more than 700 runs ahead of second placed England captain, Joe Root.
Mithali Raj joined her Indian counterpart in being named as the ‘Leading Women’s Cricketer in the World’. In 2017, she became the leading run-scorer in the history of Women’s One Day Internationals (ODIs), made a record seven consecutive half-centuries and led an unfancied team to the cusp of World Cup glory.
Afghanistan’s 19-year old spin sensation Rashid Khan became the first player to be named as the leading Twenty20 Cricketer of the World.