Millions may have tuned in to watch the heroics of Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney earlier this month, but who remembers the greats of the game?
Whilst some of the world’s best ever are still playing today, others retired long ago and were perhaps robbed of the praise and adulation that they unequivocally deserved. With that in mind, in no particular order, here is our list of the top 10 players to ever grace the field.
1. Mithali Raj
The most experienced player in ODI Cricket history and no doubt the female equivalent to Sachin Tendulkar, Mithali Raj has long been the greatest Indian batter to ever play for the women’s side. With almost 10,000 international runs to her name, including a double hundred against England in a test-match, she also captained India to their only ODI World-Cup final. In truth, the absence of any international trophy is perhaps the only thing alluding Raj, as her personal accolades are endless. The most matches captained for India, the most ODI runs ever, the most international half-centuries. To this day, at the age of 37 she remains the ODI captain and who knows how long she could continue to go on for…
2. Cathryn Fitzpatrick
The best bowler for what was one of the game’s greatest ever teams, Cathryn Fitzpatrick was pivotal in inspiring Australia’s ODI World Cup success in 1997 and 2005. She is second in the all-time list for international wickets, and clocked bowling speeds of which some male players could only dream. Fitzpatrick became the oldest player to take five wickets in a game aged 37 when she took 5-29 against India in 2006, claiming 240 wickets in total across her career.
3. Stefanie Taylor
Stefanie Taylor is undoubtedly one of the game’s greatest all-rounders and probably the greatest player who isn't English, Australian or Indian to ever play the game. A proven match winner with both bat and ball, Taylor has five centuries to go alongside 57 half-centuries and over 200 international wickets to match. Her greatest came in 2016, when she captained her West-Indian team to a T20 World Cup title. Interestingly Taylor has never played a test, but her limited overs statistics are outstanding enough on their own to warrant a place on this list.
4. Sarah Taylor
There are plenty of female players who could easily make the grade in the men’s game, but Sarah Taylor has actually done just that. Whilst close to making her debut for Surrey back in 2013, Taylor played grade cricket in Australia in 2015. A simply magnificent wicket-keeper, many have proposed that she is the greatest keeper, male or female the game has ever seen. Aside from her work behind the stumps, Taylor was also a prolific batter and remains the youngest to reach 1,000 ODI runs. With over 6,000 career runs, including seven centuries, there is unlikely to ever be a keeper as good as Taylor ever again.
5. Belinda Clark
Captaining Australia to two World Cup wins is an admirable achievement in itself, but Belinda Clarks legacy goes way beyond just that. The first player male or female, to hit an ODI double-century, some 13 years before Sachin Tendulkar repeated the feat, Clark averaged over 45 in tests and 47.49 in ODI cricket. She is one of just two women, alongside Betty Wilson to have been induced into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.
6. Rachael Heyhoe-Flint
Heyhoe-Flint unfortunately passed away in 2017, but her impact on women’s cricket should never be forgotten. Captaining England for twelve years between 1966 and 1978, she never lost a test series and led England to victory in the first ever Women’s World Cup in 1973. An average of 45 in Tests, 58 in ODIS, she will perhaps be best remembered for her insistence that the MCC allow women to become members, and was reportedly one of the first to receive such an honour. Added to this, she was also one of the ECB’s first female directors.
7. Charlotte Edwards
Edwards is the most familiar name to anyone in the UK with regards to women’s cricket. One of England’s most successful captains ever, she inspired her team to three Ashes triumphs, as well as ODI and T20 World-Cup titles. Having made her debut at just 15, she has scored more runs in international cricket than any other England player, and is second only to Raj in the all-time ODI runs list, with almost 6000 runs.
8. Meg Lanning
Lanning was always destined for greatness and indeed many predicted it from a young age. The first girl to play for a public schools first XI at the age of just 14, Lanning soon became the youngest player male or female, to register a century, aged 18. She has gone on to captain Australia to back-to-back T20 World Cup titles, and boasts the most ODI centuries of anyone in history with 13
9. Jhulan Goswami
In a career spanning over 17 years, Goswami is quite simply the most prolific bowler the game has ever seen. The most wickets of anyone in international cricket with over 300, she has also bowled the most overs and most maidens of any woman ever. Like Raj, a World-Cup is the only thing to allude Goswami, but her bowling records will be tough for anyone to surpass.
10. Ellyse Perry
Perry is the golden-girl of women’s cricket. One of the most gifted sportspeople the world has perhaps ever seen, at one stage she played both professional football and cricket for Australia and taken part in World Cups for both sports, before eventually choosing to focus on cricket. The youngest ever Australian to play the game, Perry is more than just an all-rounder. She does not merely bat and bowl, but is quite possibly the best in the world in both departments. Her list of achievements is also endless. The first to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in T20 Cricket, the highest average in Test-Match cricket with 78 and winner of the inaugural ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year award. At the age of just 29 still, with almost 5000 international runs and 300 wickets, her legacy could grow even greater still.
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