New Delhi, Jan 5: For Indian women's cricket, 2023 had mixed fortunes. But led by Harmanpreet Kaur, Indian women's team did surprise cricket experts when they beat formidable opponents India and Australia in successive Tests in Mumbai.
But no Indian has been nominated for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2023 award. One from England, two Aussies and one from Sri Lanka have been shortlisted for the award.
England vice-captain Nat Sciver-Brunt, Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Athapaththu, Australia duo of off-spin all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner and opener Beth Mooney have been nominated for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2023 award.
Nat won the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in 2022, in addition to the ODI Cricketer of the Year honour in the same year. In 2023, she is now in the running again for the same award, after making 894 runs and taking eight scalps across all three formats.
From six ODI games, she scored 393 runs with an average of 131, which included three tons. This brought her total number of ODI tons to eight, now just one behind the England record jointly held by Tammy Beaumont and Charlotte Edwards (9 each), as she won the Player of the Series award in the ODI leg of the Women’s Ashes.
She also had sturdy knocks in her two Test outings of the year, hitting two fifties against Australia and India in Nottingham and Navi Mumbai respectively. Nat was England's highest run-getter in the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup, scoring 216 runs at a strike rate of 141.17. She also made a brilliant 77 against India to set a vehement England win at Wankhede Stadium in December.
On the other hand, Chamari is the only player nominated in the major categories in the ICC Awards 2023 thanks to a standout year, where she scored 885 runs in ODIs and T20Is, while taking nine wickets and also led Sri Lanka with aplomb.
While Sri Lanka didn’t qualify for the knockout stage of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa, they impressed with wins over South Africa and Bangladesh. Chamari earned the Player of the Match award for a fine 68 in a three-run win over South Africa
Her highest score in the T20Is in 2023 was an unbeaten 80 against New Zealand at home which helped Sri Lanka secure a 10-wicket win. However, her best performance came against England, where she was Player of the Series for her all-round run.
This was Sri Lanka’s first-ever T20I series win against the country, especially in England. She also led Sri Lanka to a silver medal in the women’s T20 event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Chamari showed great form in the ODIs as well, with her two centuries playing an instrumental role in the island nation’s series win over New Zealand at home.
Ashleigh, meanwhile, took more wickets than anyone else in women’s international cricket in 2023, taking 58 wickets across all formats. She also won the Player of the Tournament award at the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup for her all-round brilliance, including picking career-best figures of 5/12 in Australia’s opening encounter against New Zealand.
Later on, Ashleigh became the first player to win back-to-back ICC Women’s Player of the Month prizes in June and July. In the Women’s Ashes Test, Ashleigh’s figures of 8/66 were the second-best figures in Women’s Tests, and the best-ever for Australia. Her match figures of 12/165 were also the second-best in Women’s Tests, as Australia won.
Her compatriot Beth also had a memorable year in which she scored more runs than anyone else in women’s international cricket. She amassed 1040 runs in 2023, which included making 54 off 37 balls against India in the semifinals and 74 not out from 53 balls in the finals against South Africa, helping Australia lift the Women’s T20 World Cup for a record sixth time. She also marked her presence in the ODIs as well, shining with a century against Pakistan and putting in some handy performances during the Women’s Ashes.
In the longer format, Beth contributed with a crucial 85 in the second innings of the only Ashes Test in Nottingham helping Australia set a fighting target of 268, which was eventually defended by Ashleigh’s brilliance. (With IANS support)