The International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier in the month announced the first four shortlists in the ICC Awards 2023 for the category of ‘ICC Women’s T20I Cricketer of the Year 2023’. Chamari Athapaththu, Sophie Ecclestone, Hayley Matthews and Ellyse Perry have been nominated for their stellar run in T20Is this year, let’s uncover this.
Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka)
The southpaw from Sri Lanka is riding in the form of her career. In the year 2023, she was in a purple patch and was the driver in change for Sri Lanka. Amassing 470 runs and scalping 6 wickets in 16 matches, she was instrumental with her aggressive batting for Sri Lanka and single-handedly drove them to glory in a plethora of matches. With 5 catches to her name and a healthy strike rate of 130+, she has been a revelation and will look to carry on the form.
In the Women’s T20 World Cup, her counter-attacking 68 versus South Africa helped claim an important win and even her knock of 80 versus New Zealand paved the way for a win versus New Zealand in a home series. With her batting exploits once again coming to the limelight, she led from the front to defeat England in an away series with her all-round skills.
Sophie Ecclestone (England)
Sophie Ecclestone is undoubtedly one of the finest spinners in world cricket at the moment and is sought-after in any franchise league she is a part of. In 2023, she shone with 23 wickets in just 11 matches, at an unbelievable average of 10.60 and an economy rate of 5.65. She was a crucial cog in the wheel for England in all their campaigns specifically the ICC T20 World Cup 2023.
Her ability to extract the most from any surface, stifle runs from one end and take wickets at any stage in the match makes her an exciting proposition to have. Despite setbacks and challenges where she had to undergo surgery on her dislocated right shoulder, she marked her return with a strong showing against India in the T20I series.
Ellyse Perry (Australia)
Ellyse Perry, a star all-rounder and a gifted cricketer has once again proven why she is more than relevant in the shortest format of the game. After being sidelined owing to strike rate concerns in 2021-22, she worked on her game and made the strongest comeback to be in the reckoning for an honour of this stature.
With 319 runs at an average of 45.57 and a strike rate of 151.18 in 2023, she also struck 11 sixes in the year. She batted with a lot of intent and showed the world a different aspect to her T20 game and with six wickets, she was once again a valuable addition to the already dominant Aussie side and proved her worth time and again.
Hayley Matthews (West Indies)
The all-rounder from West Indies will remember 2023 with a lot of fond memories. She scored 700 runs which was the highest by any player in a single year of Women’s T20Is but she also pocketed 19 wickets an average of 16.21, in what was a fabulous year for her.
In the T20I series versus Australia, her consistent showings with the bat were simply phenomenal to watch, especially the 132 at Sydney. It was not just her batting that bailed West Indies out of trouble on multiple occasions but her wily bowling that got crucial breakthroughs for the team.