The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday included India’s 18-year-old right-hand opening batter Shafali Verma among the first five players selected as ‘100 per cent Cricket Superstars’ ahead of a historic month for women’s cricket, which culminates in the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham.
The youngest player to debut for India in international cricket, and the youngest half-centurion, Shafali has made a smooth transition to the highest level of cricket. A hard-hitting opening batter, Shafali has shown the capability to play crucial roles, with her power-hitting separating her from her peers.
“For all the power and aggression though, it’d be remiss not to acknowledge Verma’s early success in the long format of the game. Averaging over 60 across her four Test innings, Verma has shown a maturity to bat long periods in trying and foreign conditions,” said ICC, lauding the India cricketer’s achievements.
Among the other cricketers the ICC chose for its ‘100 per cent Cricket Superstars’ promotional programme includes, Sophie Ecclestone (England), Amelia Kerr (New Zealand), Hayley Matthews (West Indies) and Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa).
The five are the first crop of what will ultimately be a ‘100 per cent Cricket Superstars’ squad that fans can pick from to decide on a final XI.
“100 per cent Cricket Superstars celebrates the best talent in the women’s game as part of the ICC’s ongoing 100 per cent Cricket campaign during a period that sees some of the sport’s most significant events take place,” said Wasim Khan, ICC General Manager, Cricket.
The first ‘100 per cent Cricket Superstars’ inductees were selected with the input of the ICC Women’s Cricket Committee.
England’s left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone has been a pivotal figure in her country’s side, having taken 150 international wickets so far. The No.1 bowler in both T20I and bowling rankings made her Test debut in 2017 and no player has taken more Test wickets than Ecclestone’s 17. In T20Is since her debut in 2016, only two bowlers have taken more wickets than her 68.
West Indies all-rounder Hayley Matthews was the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker for her side in the Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 in New Zealand. Already third on the West Indies all-time list for runs in both white-ball formats, Matthews is on track to break records.
Amelia Kerr of New Zealand hold the world record of becoming the youngest international double centurion. She scored an unbeaten 232 against Ireland at just 17 years and 243 days in an ODI in Dublin in 2018. She rounded out the day with a five-wicket haul, becoming the only player to achieve the double in international cricket.
South Africa’s Laura Wolvaardt already has more than 3,000 ODI runs and with an extremely competitive season coming up, she is in great form to touch new heights. Wolvaardt was a natural fit in ODIs, with 30 scores of over 50 in just 76 innings since she made her debut in 2016. She has also evolved in the T20I format. Only three players eclipsed Wolvaardt’s 433 runs at the Cricket World Cup 2022 in New Zealand, though the trio all benefited from playing an extra match at the event.