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2017 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

Previous Page  (World Cup 2017)
Well another World Cup has been and gone. Sadly (for me) much of it had to be watched on the TV but it was great to be able to follow at least some of the games.
I have watched four World Cup Finals now - three at the ground and this latest one on the TV. Against all statistical odds Australia has featured in only one of those in 2005, and I have some controversial thoughts about that final to this day.
This World Cup has certainly provided some excitement. Having predicted it could be the most open competition ever, I began to wonder when, apart from England's loss to India, most matches were following the form-book. Those thoughts rather did an injustice to India who proceeded to beat those above them in the pecking order and came close, so close, to taking the final from England. Apart from one inspired spell by Anya Shrubsole the Cup was, from England's point of view, gone.

[Anya Shrubsole]  Don Miles

Anya Shrubsole in Characteristic Pose during the Semi-Final Match against South Africa.
 However the later stages were to prove the best yet - at least during the time I have been following this sport. South Africe came so close to denying England a spot in the final and India in the form of Harmanpreet Kaur, showed Australia the door. Her knock of 171* off 115 balls must rate as one of the top white ball innings - maybe the best - that I have witnessed. I would love to have been there.
There are some remarkable stats relating to this knock. Kaur brought up her 100 in 90 balls. More than a run-a-ball century so nothing to complain of there in terms of the scoring rate. I would guess that most ODI hundreds don't achieve a 100 Strike Rate. However, this almost pales into insignificance when you look at the number with regard to the 71 further runs. They were made in 25 balls at a rate in other words of 2.84 per ball or a Strike Rate of 284! If you weren't lucky enough to watch this innings then I can also tell you she was struggling with an injury during this later period. Her overall Strike Rate for the innings was 149. Having seen her bat in the innings against Australia in 2011 at which the following picture was taken, I always suspected something special was on the cards one day and she perhaps chose the right day to play the knock of her career.
Harmanpreet Kaur YouTube Interview

[Harmanpreet Kaur]  Don Miles

Harmanpreet kaur Takes a Liking to the Australian Bowling on a Previous Occasion in 2011

After what must surely be the best World Cup ever, it is sad to see some very unsavoury happenings in Pakistan. Now we all know they lost all their seven matches in this tournament but what is so surprising about that? The ICC rankings alone should have told anyone with an ounce of... well you know what... that either Sri Lanka or Pakistan might finish up with this unfortunate state of affairs. True it wasn't written in the stars but there was always a chance one team would suffer this fate. But who's to blame? The captain? The coach? Both? Neither? Is anyone?
However it would seem one of those individuals is anxious to blame someone else.

An Open Letter from Sana Mir

 

[As a response to this Report]


So let me have my two-penny-worth. Firstly Pakistan lost their number one batsman - no, not an opener - the player who is undoubtedly their best batsman, Bismah Maroof. She departed back home with a major hand injury. It was a big loss to Pakistan.
 

[Bismah Maroof]  Don Miles

Bismah Maroof

 

Next, as mentioned, you are very much the under-dogs before a ball is bowled. However you do have an experienced captain who has led Pakistan for some years and, unlike the coach, kept her nerve in 'big' games before. In the first couple of games one player remained seated in a bib beyond the boundary. The minute she was introduce, apparently at the captain's behest, Diana Baig made an impression, not least in the field where her abilities looked, in general anyway, a cut above. Taking Sane Mir's words at face value, and I see no reason not to, she had wanted Baig in the line-up from the off but the coach felt otherwise. It's not difficult to see who made the correct decision there. Poor captaincy? I don't think so.
 
It's also impossible to blame Mir for her own personal performance. She accumulated 153 runs at an average of 30.60, and took 6 wickets.

 

Reading the newspaper accounts and San Mir's Open Letter I don't think any regular follower of the sport will know which side of the argument they should come down on.
 
If there is blame to apportion for Pakistan's performance then it lies at the feet of the members of the PCB. Poor support for the team, in particular the lack of a good domestic structure is the reason the Pakistan girls had little chance against sides like England, Australia, South Africa etc, where the Boards take their responsibilities to the women's game at least a little more seriously.

 

On a more uplifting note, the ICC released a "Team of the Tournament"
Tamsin Beaumont (England) 410 runs
Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa) 324 runs
Mithali Raj (captain) (India) 409 runs
Ellyse Perry (Australia) 404 runs and 9 wickets
Sarah Taylor (wicketkeeper) (England) 396 runs, 4 catches and 2 stumpings
Harmanpreet Kaur (India) 359 runs and 5 wickets
Deepti Sharma (India) 216 runs and 12 wickets
Marizanne Kapp (South Africa) 13 wickets
Dane van Niekerk (South Africa) 99 runs and 15 wickets
Anya Shrubsole (England) 12 wickets
Alex Hartley (England) 10 wickets
Natalie Sciver (12th) (England) 369 runs and 7 wickets
Additionally Tamsin Beaumont was named "Player of the Tournament"
I wonder how many of us, if asked to choose this team prior to the event, would have included only one Australian but no less than three South Africans.  England are honoured with four inclusions plus the 12th. All these choices are, of course, arbitrary, but there will be quite a few names here I am sure would have been on your list.

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Coming Up Shortly: The Kia Super League 2017