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India Women, under the leadership of the experienced Mithali Raj, are all set to play their first Test after eight years when they take field against England Women in Wormsley on Wednesday. England are a formidable side and a world-beating unit that has excelled across formats in recent times. Devarchit Varma lists down the five cricketers from the home side to watch out for.
The Indian Women will be begin their tour of England with a four-day Test match at Wormsley on August 13, and it will be followed up by three One-Day Internationals (ODIs). The two sides had last clashed in the long format match eight years ago, and since then a lot of things have changed. England Women have had had good fortunes come their way in recent times, having finished third in the ICC Women’s World Cup last year after which they won the 2013 Ashes by defeating Australia 2-0 in the ODIs. They also finished runners-up in the recently concluded ICC Women’s World Twenty20.
The England Women side is a star-studded one, with the likes of Charlotte Edwards, wicketkeeper-batswoman Sarah Taylor among others. Apart from the big names in the English side, there are also other players who can make huge impact in the game on their day. Let’s take a look:
1. Heather Knight: The English vice-captain is one of their batting mainstays. She has played three Test matches, with a highest score of 157 against Australia Women at Wormsley last year. She averages above 32, which speaks of her batting prowess. Heather is an experienced campaigner when it comes to international cricket, as in the 42 ODIs, she has an average close to 30 with five half-centuries. Heather also had the best batting average in the last edition of the World T20.
2. Kate Cross: The right-arm medium fast England bowler might have played only one Test match, but she has the firepower that is so typical of young fast bowlers. Having impressed one and all while coming through the ranks in the English domestic set-up, Kate has emerged as one of the most exciting bowlers to watch out for in women’s international cricket. The highest praise for her came from John Stanworth, who said she won’t be fazed while facing the male cricketers.
3. Anya Shrubsole: With 10 wickets in two matches, Anya is another England cricketer to watch out for. She has been a regular fixture in England Women’s ODI and T20 sides. She has had a successful run in the shortest form of cricket, wherein Anya has as many as 44 scalps in 31 matches. Anya is famous for her in-swingers, and she also created history by snaffling most wickets in the Women’s World T20 in Bangladesh earlier this year. Anya is someone who will not let England feel the absence of Katherine Brunt.
4. Natalie Sciver: She has shown all-round skills in her international outings so far. With 156 runs in 10 ODIs at an average of 52, Natalie has had a successful run for England Women. She has played only one Test match, but Natalie’s exploits in the limited-overs format guarantee a successful transition to the longest format. She has taken 10 wickets in as many ODIs and 18 scalps in 19 T20 matches.
5. Sonia Odedra: The 26-year-old is another talent to watch out for in the English camp. The right-hand medium fast bowler can provide good support to Anya Shrubsole from the other end. She was first called in the England Women squad to face Pakistan in 2013, and when Rebecca Grundy was injured, she was named as a replacement for series against India and South Africa Women.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)
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