2013 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

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The World Cup 2012/13

My Honours Board (based on TV matches ONLY!)

The choices below are personal and not from a study of the stats or necessarily from the big performances but based, very simply, on impressions from the sofa as I watched as much as I could of the excellent Sky coverage. You will know, if you have read this ramble previously, that I have a soft spot for players who have an elegance about their game, and who are whole-hearted cricketers. You may therefore consider some of the choices I have made eccentric, and maybe some of them are! If you wish to agree or disagree then email me.
Player of the Tournament : Suzie Bates : I have no quarrel with the official verdict. Her consistency throughout this competition has been remarkable.

[Suzie Bates]

Batsman of the Tournament : Or rather batsmen as I intend to cheat and name two. Charlotte Edwards played some remarkable knocks, not always getting the support she must have hoped for. That her efforts did not place England in the final is no fault of hers. Indeed the England team beat one of the finalists by a thumping 6 wickets and lost by only 2 runs to the other, in a match where their bowlers worked a near miracle.
[Charlotte Edwards]
And one for whom sadly I have no picture : Chamani Atapattu of Sri Lanka
While Rasangani probably has a greater tally, I have chosen Atapattu (full name Atapattumudiyanselage Chamari Jayangani, which may cause confusion if you check the scorecards where she is usually known by C. Jayangani) as being such a delight to watch. One of the most stylish left-handers I have seen in many a year and I have to hope I get a chance to watch her bat live.
Bowlers of the Tournament : Pace : Anya Shrubsole for a most remarkable competition and some amazing performances. Gifted with genuine pace and the bounce that comes with it, Anya found swing during this competition, when most bowlers could only do so at a much slower pace. The combination cleaned up many a top order batsman among England's opponents. The Brunt/Shrubsole partnership gave England's bowling an opening attack other sides could only envy. Anya must also have had the fast bowler's dream come true when she sent Jess Cameron's middle stump cart-wheeling - the ultimate dismissal. This would have to be the Dismissal of the Tournament as Jess is no tail-ender!

[Anya Shrubsole]

Bowlers of the Tournament : Spin : Once again I find it hard to split two players here and so I am going with Erin Osborne (left) and Holly Colvin (right).

Erin's pitch map was quite remarkable and her tight line and length brought its rewards. The only other spin bowler in the competition to achieve accuracy of this standard was England's Holly Colvin, on the money as she so often is.

All-Rounder & Captain : Shashikala Siriwardene If captaincy is about leading from the front then Siriwardene must have been an inspiration to her troops with both bat and ball. She picked up 10 wkts for 219 runs and scored 150 in her 6 matches. This may not be the best all-rounder stats for the World Cup but it showed a consistency that many players might envy. She marshalled her forces well and seemed ever alert in the field. She seems to have made the Sri Lankan team more than a sum of its parts, and there's no greater attribute a captain can have than that.

[Shashikala Siriwardene]

Character Award : Holly Ferling : Once again no picture I'm afraid but I hope to be able to put that right during the course of this summer. Always it would seem smiling, Holly seemed to have the time of her life, whether selected for a particular match, or left on the bench. I noticed she stopped in her tracks when leaving the field after the national anthems to high (low?) five all the young kids who'd been out there with the teams.

It's always a pleasure to watch others enjoying themselves and so that's why my...

Team of the Tournament is Sri Lanka : It's true they did well in televised matches but, while I have seen jubilation on the faces of players many times before when winning major tournaments it is rare to see such joy for every match. They had a great tournament and I have to hope they are a team for the future. As I type they are 1-1 in a  series with the West Indies, another side that has made everyone take notice in recent times. While the top teams may have their mark in a longer series, it's great that they have been able to spring surprises. The rather crazy rules didn't help their chances of going further.

Match of the Tournament : Again I am going to cheat and choose two, in both of which England came second by the smallest of margins. Could it be the game against Australia or the one against Sri Lanka. Both must have had the supporters of both countries on the edge of their seats. They are both matches I will watch again, indeed I already have (March 7) watched one twice for they both include exciting and interesting play.

Courage Award : Ellyse Perry : Taking the top three West Indies wickets in spite of ankle problems showed guts and I know the pain subsides when you're doing well but, having carried the injury into the match she had to field for the 50 overs, no substitute being allowed. No doubt others suffered too, and you can't feel anyone else's pain, but this seemed a brave performance to me.

[Ellyse Perry]

TV Coverage : The ground commentators and those in the studio did a splendid job on the whole.  Not all of them will have seen much women's cricket I guess and, as far as the Mumbai end was concerned maybe only Mel Jones had played the sport, having represented Australia. She was as reliable as ever and my advice to Sky is hang on to her.  In the picture below she's batting for Surrey during a summer spent in the UK in 2003.

[Mel Jones]

Alison Mitchell was as reliable as ever and Mark Butcher was a revelation, as I haven't heard him commentate before but he seemed to grasp the women's game in all but one regard, in which it seemed everyone in the box was ignorant. The women's cricket ball is 5oz not 4 3/4oz which is the one used by juniors.

Back in the studio Sky used ex-England players Isa Guha, now a veteran of IPL commentary, Clare Connor and Claire Taylor. They could not have chosen better.

And so ends the 2012/13 World Cup. It must be one of the most controversial so far, and we have to hope, for years ahead too. Moving Group B to Cuttack (perhaps understandable in view of the political situation), deciding women were not important enough to warrant playing in the Wankhede stadium, and the ICC coming up with a series of competition rules that defy all understanding, made this competition rather odd. Nonetheless I cannot deny we were treated to some very fine cricket and anyone watching the girls for the first time could hardly fail to be impressed. If it did not make a positive mark on their psyche then I can only say they have no soul!

Did the best team win - well probably - but I'll reserve judgement until September this year.

As for the rules - well watch this space for a suggestion for 2017 when I can only hope England finally gets its turn.

And the Biggest Prize goes to : All the players for putting on show to the world the finest exhibition of quality cricket TV and local viewers have been able to watch to date. All this was accomplished against a back-drop of moved matches across a vast country, moved stadia, some exceptionally poor umpiring, and a set of rules about which I have probably commented too much already. In the face of these adversities the players did their sport proud and I have heard nothing but praise from friends and acquaintances who follow cricket but are not familiar with the women's game. Let's hope that is translated into more bums on seats around the globe.

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