Cricket Weekly #22: Reviewing the BBC Women’s World T20 Team

Welcome to the 22nd edition of Overtime’s Cricket Weekly Column, where we look at the week’s biggest stories and games.

This week I am continuing my series on reviewing the BBC fan-voted world XI’s. After reviewing the first edition which was the world men’s Test XI, up next is the Women’s World T20 team.

Sit back, grab some tea and enjoy!

The BBC Fan-Voted Best Women’s T20 Team

The series of teams was started with the best T20 Women’s team in the world, which was voted by fans on the BBC Sport website and then revealed over a live text within the coming days.

Below is the team as voted by fans.

Much like in the men’s Test side, it is the opening department where I have made the first change from the fan XI.

One player has to stay and that is Alyssa Healy. Niece of legendary Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy, Alyssa has written her own legacy into Australian cricketing folklore, becoming one of the most destructive batters on the planet as well as scoring just over 2,000 runs at a strike rate of 132.05. She is certainly the best opener in the world and so is an easy selection for this team.

The other opener is where I have the problem and where I feel fans have introduced a policy which is used commonly throughout sport when dictating a “world’s best team” and that is recency bias. This is the logic that due to recent achievements, the player in question is pushed up in the estimations of many, overlooking those who have been performing at a consistently high level for years.

Beth Mooney whilst being the top run-scorer at the 2020 T20 Cricket World Cup I don’t feel has done enough to overhaul who should rightfully be opening alongside Healy, South African Lizelle Lee.

Lee for the past few years has been known for her explosive capabilities, playing herself in before unleashing a powerful attack on bowlers, often guiding her towards milestones in a matter of overs.

Whilst the stats backs Mooney’s claim in the side, there are times where players who have provided the so-called ‘X-Factor’ in the past and Lee certainly has done that.

Next up we have positions three to six, three out of the four are identical to my side. Much like Healy, there are certain players that simply have to be included in this side and again like Healy they are Australian, Meg Lanning and Elysse Perry.

Lanning for me is the best batter in the world, with a superb average of 36.20 across 98 innings as well as holding the record for the joint-most T20I centuries. Not to mention that she has led Australia to back-to-back T20 World Cups, so would be a valuable leader for this side.

Perry has been up there with the best players that have ever played the game and following the retirement of Sarah Taylor, last year is by far the most talented female cricketer in the world.

Whilst she may not have the most mindblowing stats in T20 cricket with the bat, her incredible average of 19.12 with the ball more than makes up for it. She is listed in the BBC XI at four but for me, an all-rounder always bats six, but she could definitely move up the order if required.

The third player out of the middle order that a wholly agree with is Stefanie Taylor of West Indies. It was a toss-up for me between her and Dane van Niekerk of South Africa, but Taylor edges her due to her far superior batting and bowling averages.

Taking a look at the stats just shows how remarkable a player she is, a bowling average of just 16.77 and a batting average of 36.39 is incredible for any kind of all-rounder let alone a spinning all-rounder in a format where spinners get treated with more disdain then I have for Liverpool fans.

Again I would have an order change, as she is down at six in the order in the BBC XI, I would push her up to four for her big-hitting abilities which if they don’t come off, can easily be recovered due to our next player on the list.

Harmanpreet Kaur is the only Indian in my XI (we’ll come on to Poonam Yadav later) and she is certainly a perfect representative for her country as she is certainly one of the best batters in women’s cricket. A stylish strokeplayer, she has led the way alongside Mithali Raj in India’s team the last few years and was so close to taking home a World Cup for her efforts if not for Anya Shrubsole in 2018.

She replaces Natalie Sciver in the XI due to her highly superior amount of runs and the fact that Perry has the all-rounder role covered along with Taylor, so another is not needed, but what is needed is as many natural run scorers as possible which Kaur is.

On that point, at seven for my team is Deandra Dottin, a handy run-scorer with over 2,000 runs in the format as well as 59 wickets at a decent average of 18.08. A part-timer bowler by all accounts but she is capable of getting breakthroughs at crucial times as the T20 World Cup showed but it’s her run-scoring ability often at a hefty strike that would prove a valuable asset down the order.

She replaces Poonam Yadav of India who despite her average being the best in the world has failed to win a major honour which means she is left out, which indicates how tight the competition for these spots are.

The final four is a carbon copy of the BBC team with one minor change, with Katherine Brunt dropping one place down the order. Brunt is one of England’s frontline bowlers and has been a staple of England’s side since 2011 along with 83 wickets at a fine average.

However, she gets in over Yadav due to her ability to add late runs down the order, so whilst she may not be as good as Yadav with the ball, she is able to contribute a lot more in general.

Alongside her at nine is Anya Shrubsole, much like Brunt in many ways, a heavy-hitter and a brilliant swinger of the ball. Her and Brunt have been new-ball partners for England for some time and they have partly led England to the success they have had over the past few years. Whilst she isn’t the quickest she is arguably the best bowler in the world on her day so she has to be included.

In at ten is the top wicket-taker from the T20 World Cup, Megan Schutt. Schutt has been a regular in the Australian setup for some time and her recent performances have shown off her skills to the highest level. With an average of 15.17 in T20 cricket, it’s hard to look past Schutt.

The frontline spinner in the side and my favourite player in the women’s game, in at number 11 is Sophie Ecclestone. One of few bowlers in the world for me that I always have to watch, just because of how good they are. Ecclestone has had a remarkable career so far, at just age 21 she has already taken 50 wickets in T20 cricket, a staggering feat for someone so young and if she is to continue she is set to break all records in front of her.

My team is below:

Clip of the Week: Tim Bresnan 6/19 v Lancashire 2017

This week Yorkshire said goodbye to a club legend with all-rounder Tim Bresnan announcing he was to leave the club after 19 years. Bresnan was a regular in England’s Test side and was notably one of the key members in their away Ashes series win in 2010. However, his role with Yorkshire has arguably been greater, helping them to the County Championship title in 2014 and 2015.

In this clip, during a T20 game, Bresnan rips through local rivals Lancashire in the ‘Battle of the Roses’ with a knee-slide celebration to boot.

Hopefully, you enjoyed and didn’t get too angry with me in the process, join me next week where I will be reviewing the Men’s World ODI Team!

Click here for last week’s Cricket Weekly where I review the BBC’s Fan-Voted World Test XI as well as the second clip of the week which features Vikram Solanki!

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