England starlet Sophie Ecclestone took home Emerging Player of the Year at this year's ICC Women's Awards, ahead of Indian duo of Jemimah Rodrigues and Radha Yadav, who came in at second and third, respectively.
Ecclestone, who bowls left-arm orthodox, had a sensational breakthrough year for England. Despite her tender age of 19, only four women bettered her tally of 18 wickets in ODIs in 2018. With an average of 15.78 and a brilliant economy rate of just 3.30, Ecclestone has fast become one of the most feared spin bowlers in world cricket. Her magnificent 4/14 off 10 overs against India in Nagpur back in April turned many a head, as it became clear that she could bowl with maturity well beyond her years.
A return of 17 wickets in 14 T20Is also outlines her prowess in the short format, and her excellent performances in the calendar year have solidified her as England's premier spinner. Ecclestone featured for England during their run to the final in the ICC Women's World T20 2018 in the West Indies, taking the wicket of Australia star Alyssa Healy with a beautiful turning delivery.
Eighteen-year-old Rodrigues might have missed out on the top spot, but her feats in 2018 indicate that there is plenty to come from the all-rounder in years to come. Rodrigues made both her ODI and T20I debuts this year, and it was in the latter format that she really made a splash. 461 runs in just 15 innings at a strike-rate of 129.13 are statistics worthy of a seasoned veteran, and placed her above many household names at ninth on the T20I run-scorers of 2018. We are yet to see her true capabilities with the ball, but her handy off-breaks could be nurtured into something special if given time.
A magnificent 59 against New Zealand in the Women's World T20 made Indians stand to attention, and should her potential be harnessed fully, then Rodrigues certainly has the capacity to be a world-beater.
India have reason to look forward to a strong era of women's cricket, as Yadav joins her teammate Rodrigues in the top three for Emerging Player of the Year. Also 18, Yadav has only featured in the 20-over format for her country, yet the guile and potency of her left-arm orthodox approach have indicated the brilliance that she possesses in her fingers.
Catapulted into the public eye during the Women's World T20, Yadav was her country's leading wicket-taker with eight scalps, and an economy-rate of 6.27 displayed her ability plug the runs at the highest level. Big-game mentality is pivotal in international cricket, and it looks like Yadav could be spinning the Indians to victory for years to come.
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!