Danni Wyatt’s cricket career has been a game of two halves. Between her debut in 2010 and 2016, hers was a tale of potential unfulfilled – probably the most gifted natural athlete of her era in the game, she was never able to translate that into runs (or wickets) in the international arena. Then… somehow… England coach Mark Robinson finally found her “on” switch, as he had done with Tammy Beaumont before, and would go on to do with Amy Jones after; and at last the runs came, including that career-defining, 57-ball T20 century out in Australia in the 2017 Ashes.
But looked at another way, since that “surgence” (sic – there’s no “re”!) her career has been a game of two games.
The upward trend in her average has really only been in T20 cricket, and this summer against the West Indies has reflected that. In the ODI series, she made 8, 3 and 12 – just 23 runs – but back in a T20 shirt last night, she hit 81 off 55 balls, earning herself the Player of the Match award as England continued their long winning run.
It is true that she was lucky – she was dropped twice in the troublesome-teens – an absolute dolly at mid off that any park player would hope to pouch 9 times out of 10; and a tougher chance behind the stumps, but one which you’d expect an international wicket keeper to take. But there is a lot of luck in this game, and the best players learn to ride it as Wyatt did in that innings, leaving no room for doubt – she is one of the best T20 players in the world.
The dilemma for England now, almost regardless of what happens in the final T20 next week, is about Ashes selection.
If the Ashes began with the T20s, it would be obvious; but it doesn’t – it begins with the ODIs and then the Test; and on Wyatt’s ODI form, you’d probably have to pick Fran Wilson ahead of her for those one-dayers and more than likely for the Test too.
But can you really drop Wyatt after what she did last night?
It was always going to be a tough call for Mark Robinson… and with her innings at Northampton, Wyatt just made it tougher.