Defying all the cliches for a subcontinental tour, England’s leading bowlers in India and Sri Lanka were all quicks.
Of course this was partly because their leading spinner – Sophie Ecclestone – played only 2 matches before injury ended her tour. She was effectively replaced in the lineup by seamer Kate Cross, which was an interesting like-for-(not)-like choice – perhaps something to do with maintaining that vital balance in the team between northern and southern accents? Whatever the reason it worked out pretty well, with Cross taking 11 wickets at a respectable Economy Rate and bagging a Player of the Match award for that final over in the 3rd T20 against India, closing out the match with 2 wickets for 1 run when India had needed just 3 runs to win.
England continued dependence on Katherine Brunt was underlined once again, as she topped the rankings despite sitting out of most of the Sri Lanka leg, where the “easier” wickets were. To be fair (unlike with the batting) England have a succession plan for Brunt, with Katie George looking to be back from injury this summer and Freya Davies making her debut on this tour, and no player is genuinely irreplaceable… but Brunt really is as close as it gets.
Anya Shrubsole ranked second with 14 wickets, and was the only one of England’s bowlers apart from Ecclestone to finish the tour with an Economy Rate under 4. She didn’t do anything spectacular, but she took at least one wicket in every match she played, and she is a Big Game Player™ – come the Big Games against the Aussies this summer, she’ll be fired up alongside Brunt to win back those Ashes for England, and together they will be key to England’s hopes.
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention Georgia Elwiss, who in the 3 matches she played before going home injured, contributed with both bat and ball – bowling economically in the middle overs, and crucially scoring 33* in the final ODI v India, to get England over the line as they were starting to wobble. With the old Jenny Gunn nearing the twilight of her career, England will be searching for a new Jenny Gunn; and short of someone else changing their name by deed poll to “Jenny Gunn”, Elwiss is looking like the leading candidate for that role now.
|1. Katherine Brunt||7||15||4.07|
|2. Anya Shrubsole||10||14||3.87|
|3. Kate Cross||7||11||4.19|
|4. Laura Marsh||8||7||4.45|
|5. Linsey Smith||6||9||6.47|
|6. Nat Sciver||12||5||4.14|
|7. Alex Hartley||6||5||4.23|
|8. Georgia Elwiss||3||4||3.90|
|9. Freya Davies||3||3||4.58|
|10. Sophie Ecclestone||2||2||3.41|
Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy