Stylish batters, sizzling all-rounders – the latest line-up of the ICC 100% Cricket Superstars features some exciting talents.
Sophie Ecclestone (England), Amelia Kerr (New Zealand), Hayley Matthews (West Indies), Shafali Verma (India) and Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa) were the first crop of what will ultimately be a 100% Cricket Superstars squad that fans can pick from to decide on a final XI.
Here we profile the next five players who are a part of the initiative – Fatima Sana (Pakistan), Smriti Mandhana (India), Ashleigh Gardner (Australia), Sophia Dunkley (England), and Gaby Lewis (Ireland).
Fatima Sana – Pakistan's rising sensation
At only 20, Fatima Sana has already emerged as one of the most promising prospects in Pakistan women's cricket. With an uncanny ability to pick up vital wickets, while also contributing some important runs lower down the order, Sana has established herself as one of the cornerstones of the Pakistan women's team.
Her contributions have already seen her claim some major honours, being named the 2021 ICC Women's Emerging Cricketer of the Year.
Having made her international debut in 2019, Sana has played 21 ODIs and seven T20Is in a blossoming career, with many memorable performances. The pace-bowling all-rounder has picked up 27 wickets in the 50-over format, with a career-best of 5/39, while also aggregating 177 runs. In seven T20I matches, she has picked up seven wickets, with best figures of 3/27.
With a long career ahead of her and an ever-present penchant to improve her game, Pakistan will have high hopes for the emerging all-rounder.
Smriti Mandhana – India's star opener
Still only 26, Smriti Mandhana is close to completing a decade in international cricket. In this time span, she has established herself as one of the most complete all-format players around the globe.
Her record speaks for itself, combining aggression at the top of the order along with a heavy penchant for scoring some big runs. Mandhana has played 74 ODIs, aggregating 2892 runs at an average of 42.52, with five centuries and 23 fifties. In T20I cricket, she has 2192 runs in 92 games, with 16 half-centuries to her name. Mandhana has also played four Tests and has one century and two fifties in the format.
Mandhana has also emerged as a figure of leadership in Indian cricketing circles, as they move on from the era of Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami. Alongside Shafali Verma, she is one half of one of the most exciting opening pairs in international cricket.
Her consistency has seen her being named the 2021 ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year while being ranked 10th and fourth in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's Player Rankings for batters in ODIs and T20Is respectively.
The southpaw is only growing in stature in international cricket and one could expect plenty of memorable knocks from her in the near future.
Ashleigh Gardner – Australia's all-rounder extraordinaire
Since starting her career in 2019, Ashleigh Gardner's career has already seen a fair share of highs. The supremely talented all-rounder can lay claims to having had her hands on the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in 2020, the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in 2022 and the Gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the same year.
The all-rounder has been a major addition to Australia's dominant unit, contributing some miserly overs with the ball while being more than handy with the bat. Her off-break bowling has left many batters bamboozled, while also being a force of nature with the bat in the Australian middle-order.
The 25-year-old has played three Tests, 49 ODIs and 60 T20Is already in a short career, while excelling in all aspects of the game. She has four wickets in Tests, 53 in ODIs and 35 in T20Is. With the bat, Gardner has scored 157 runs in Tests, 667 in ODIs and 916 in T20Is, with 11 fifty-plus scores. She is currently ranked No.6 and No.2 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's Player Rankings for all-rounders in ODIs and T20Is respectively.
All-rounders in international cricket don't come at a much higher calibre than Ashleigh Gardner.
Sophia Dunkley – England's dazzling stroke maker
Ever since her international debut in 2018, Sophia Dunkley has been earmarked as a special talent in the English cricketing circles.
Her ability to dazzle with some breathtaking shots with the bat, along with her aggressive strokeplay is what makes her such an exciting player to watch. Her ability to contribute some handy overs with the ball only further lends to her versatility as a player.
The 24-year-old batter is slowly carving out a career in all three formats, after initially having made her name in T20 cricket. Dunkley has played three Tests, 22 ODIs and 33 T20Is for England, aggregating 152, 634 and 305 runs respectively. The right-hand batter has one century and six fifties in international cricket.
Having broken through the setup and with her growing confidence, Sophia Dunkley is surely one to watch out for in international cricket!
Gaby Lewis – Ireland's ace cricketer
Gaby Lewis is only 21, but already has almost eight years of experience in international cricket. Despite being so young, she is already a veteran of the Ireland women's national team.
In 2022, she captained her national side in a series against South Africa, becoming one of the youngest ever captain's in women's international cricket.
A technically sound right-hand batter and a handy spinner, Lewis has already carved out history in Irish cricketing circles, becoming the first Ireland women's cricketer to score a century in any format.
She has played 25 ODIs, scoring 564 runs, with four half-centuries. In the T20I format, she has already notched up 54 caps, scoring 1161 runs with one century and six half-centuries to her name. The young star has also scalped 13 wickets in international cricket.
The maturity and the sense of responsibility belie her young age and showcased the brilliant temperament of the Irish star. And at 21, the world is her oyster.
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