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7 players to look out for in the Women's T20 Tri-series

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Women's_Cricket_IndiaIt’s not often that India hosts a triangular series involving the heavyweights of the game. Soon, the first ball will be bowled in a hugely exciting series featuring Australia and England, hosted by India. That too in what is arguably cricket’s most appealing format: T20.

It’s heartening to see the ICC making such valuable inroads toward promoting the Women’s game in India. Last year, when Mithali Raj’s side toured South Africa, there was a huge uproar at the lack of televised content and broadcasting of an immensely gripping series that saw India take some giant strides in improving their overseas record.

Thankfully, viewers won’t be missing out this time. An in-form Australia, who recently overpowered India quite comprehensively in a largely one-sided ODI series, are set to be joined by England to challenge the hosts. The last we saw England take the field was in the much talked about Women’s day/night Ashes Test. But that was almost a quarter of a year back in 2017.

In the current series, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will find it a difficult challenge to overcome both Australia and England, with all sides fielding some new though immensely talented players in the field.

Here are 7 players to look out for in the tri-series featuring India, Australia and England.

1. Bryony Smith, England

This 20-year-old hard-hitting English batter caught the selectors’ eye with her performances in the Super League, opening the batting opposite Tammy Beaumont. The Surrey-born right hander, who is yet to debut in international cricket, shot to the attention of the media when she recently slammed a quick-fire 50 in 38 balls against India A in a warm-up game.

Smith’s ability to find gaps and on both sides of the field put her in a distinct bracket of talents.

A top-order batter who can spike up the scoring rate with brisk hitting, Smith is a valuable addition to the England Women’s side, one of the few well-balanced sides in the sport. It will be interesting to see how she will approach her debut series against potentially lethal bowling attacks featuring the class and experience of names like Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Megan Schutt and Ellyse Perry.

2. Nicola Carey, Australia

A potent, bowling all-rounder who’s made a name for herself with her ability to quickly accumulate runs down the order, Carey is a relatively new recruit to the bustling Australian side. Having made her international debut against India in the recently concluded ODI series, Carey was up to the mark with the ball in hand, picking up three wickets. But she had to contend with lackluster scores, her highest being 17, which truly doesn’t indicate her flair with the willow.

A left-handed free-striking batter who can guard her wicket in crucial times, Carey came to the public’s attention with her all-round exploits for Sydney Thunder in the 2017 Women’s Big Bash League.

Her domestic T20 record bodes well for Carey’s popularity in the briefest format: she has a 4-fer under her belt, an achievement in T20s, and 40 wickets claimed at a miserly average of 23. The key value she lends to a star-studded Aussie set up will be gauged from her performances in these forthcoming games.

3. Alice Davidson-Richards, England

A passionate athlete and someone who looks destined to excel at the T20 level, England have great hopes of their newbie Alice Davidson-Richards.

An accomplished all-rounder with tons of domestic and county experience back in England, Alice Davidson-Richards represents the strand of new blood inducted into a fairly experienced English set-up.

In the second warm-up game against India, the big hitting Richards timed her innings to perfection, conjuring a useful 26 off 16 balls, the kind of effort England will need in the T20 series.

Although Davidson-Richards is uncapped, she will bring plenty of experience in these T20s, having played for Kent and performed well with both bat and ball.

Some of the impressive notches on her belt include the match-winning performance in the semi-finals against Sussex in 2011’s T20 cup and being part of the England A side that toured Sri Lanka in 2013.

4. Taniya Bhatia, India

A part of the national set up at just 20, there’s no looking back for Chandigarh-born Taniya Bhatia.

She is a technically sound wicketkeeping batter who holds the rare distinction of being the youngest woman cricketer to represent the Punjab team. A key feature of her game is her adaptability, as she can change gears quickly; an ideal talent to succeed in T20s.

For a side that often relies heavily on seasoned campaigners–Raj, Kaur and Goswami–the presence of young bloods like Taniya Bhatia provides a breath of fresh air to one of the most keenly followed sides in international cricket.

5. Katie George, England

Left-arm seamers bring a natural flair to the game that makes batting even more difficult. When not working out in the gym, 18-year-old Sussex-born Katie George practices uprooting the batters’ stumps in the domestic league T20s in England.

In the second warm-up game played in India, Katie George surprised local viewers with her cunning line and accuracy, taking a hat-trick, and emerged with a useful 4-fer that clearly justifies her selection in the English squad.

As she has already formed a rapport with experienced campaigners like Danielle Wyatt and Sarah Taylor, it’s heartening to note that George will be in safe hands and under the able supervision of some of the legendary figures of England’s set up, including Sciver, Shrubsole and Taylor herself.

6. Pooja Vastrakar, India

There’s nothing more that India needs right now than a bowler who’s a fiercely striking lower order hitter. In Pooja Vastrakar, it seems, that void has been filled.

Vastrakar bats with an ease and élan that is not to be confused with carelessness. She lit up the Indian dugout with her performance in the first ODI in the recent series against Australia when she unleashed herself on the Aussie trio of Schutt, Perry and Bolton to top score with her maiden fifty: 51 from 56 balls, including 7 fours and a six.

With Sushma Verma and Deepti Sharma, Vastrakar has already demonstrated her caliber, stitching useful partnerships lower down the order, a vital addition to a top-heavy Indian side in formats like T20s.

At 18, Vastrakar boasts of supreme fitness standards and doubles up as a useful fielder with a safe pair of hands in the outfield. It’ll be interesting how she’ll approach this T20 series featuring two of the strongest sides in women’s cricket.

7. Jess Jonassen, Australia

Jonassen is a quintessential Australian competitor- she takes the competition to the opposition and is always driven to extract a hundred percent from herself. She was the main talking point in the ODI series against India in a side where the standard-bearers for excellence are Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry.

A useful, left-arm orthodox bowler, Jonassen is adept at putting a tab on scoring rates and is a master of deceiving batters with her flighted and probing deliveries. Although she hasn’t played too many games against India, her economical T20 bowling average of 22, amplified by a brilliant economy rate of 5.2, may just offer the kind of strength Australia would need to apply pressure on England and India.

 

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