As we’ve seen in previous years, because two-thirds of overseas picks are batsmen, the field is a little more open for English players to shine as bowlers in the Kia Super League.
Top of the tree this season was Freya Davies, who broke the record for a KSL season with 19 wickets. Although Davies narrowly missed out on the Player of the Tournament award after getting slightly tonked by Danni Wyatt and Suzie Bates in the final, she has made a strong case for inclusion in England’s plans for the winter leading up to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next February.
Another player who will be hoping to make an appearance in Australia is leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, who lost her Southern Stars central contract earlier this year after falling behind Georgia Wareham in the pecking order. Wellington wasn’t even an original pick for the Vipers – coming in as a late replacement for Sophie Molineux – but she made a real impact to rank second with 15 wickets at 6.85.
Like Wellington, No. 3 ranked Tash Farrant also lost her central contract this year; but since then has won the County Championship with Kent and has had her best KSL season yet for the Vipers, taking 14 wickets at 6.62. There probably isn’t a way back into England colours for Farrant in the short term, but her signature must now surely be one of the most hotly contested amongst the non-international players for The Hundred next season.
Sophie Ecclestone, ranked No. 4, of course needs no introduction; but the name at No. 5 might: Sarah Glenn is a young leg-spinner who doesn’t turn it a mile, but bowls intelligently – adjusting her length and flight to keep the batsmen on their toes. Glenn finished the season with 11 wickets at 6.05 – the joint-second best Economy Rate in KSL 2019, behind only Marizanne Kapp (at 5.34) for bowlers who delivered more than 5 overs – and it will be interesting to see if she can push on next season, with England looking to add some variety to their bowling attack, which is currently heavy on right-arm seamers and left-arm orthodox spinners.
|1. Freya Davies (Western Storm)||11||19||6.43|
|2. Amanda-Jade Wellington (Southern Vipers)||11||15||6.85|
|3. Tash Farrant (Southern Vipers)||10||14||6.62|
|4. Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire Thunder)||10||12||6.43|
|5. Sarah Glenn (Loughborough Lightning)||11||11||6.05|
|6. Kirstie Gordon (Loughborough Lightning)||10||11||6.05|
|7. Dane van Niekerk (Surrey Stars)||8||12||6.95|
|8. Claire Nicholas (Western Storm)||10||12||7.02|
|9. Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm)||10||13||7.93|
|10. Jenny Gunn (Loughborough Lightning)||11||10||6.71|
|11. Hayley Matthews (Loughborough Lightning)||9||9||6.14|
|12. Deepti Sharma (Western Storm)||11||9||6.62|
|13. Leigh Kasperek (Yorkshire Diamonds)||10||10||7.46|
|14. Katie Levick (Yorkshire Diamonds)||10||8||6.19|
|15. Kate Cross (Lancashire Thunder)||10||11||8.57|
|16. Stafanie Taylor (Southern Vipers)||6||8||6.26|
|17. Laura Marsh (Surrey Stars)||8||10||8.22|
|18. Katherine Bryce (Loughborough Lightning)||9||8||6.58|
|19. Emma Lamb (Lancashire Thunder)||10||10||8.32|
|20. Alice Davidson-Richards (Yorkshire Diamonds)||10||10||9.54|
Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy
I have really enjoyed the Kia SuperLeague and it has really promoted Womens cricket, which is fantastic, but I’m not sure that it has promoted homegrown talent, as often our young domestic players (batters & bowlers) have more than not, been the water carriers ! This is understandable as the main aim is to win the competition, but it hasn’t given our youngsters a real chance to be noticed for the next level, yet we seem to have given the opportunity to the International youngsters and I’m sure their selectors are grateful !!!
Yes, there’s a balance to be struck between getting the best players available and promoting local or homegrown youth. The former helps the impact and spectacle of the league, the latter the development of the national team. With only 6 KSL teams and it being the first “franchise” women’s T20 league in the country, they were probably always going to with a “high number” maximum of 3 overseas internationals.
But I am a bit surprised that the Hundred next year is keeping that same rule and not reducing it to 2 overseas international players per squad. What with it being a follow-up comp, and there being 8 teams not 6 I would have thought 2 would have been the better number. It would have helped more youngsters play a bigger role.
Davies and Farrant had very good seasons and really helped their teams progress. With Surrey Stars disappointing performance, the SA players didn’t really perform to quite their previous levels at times. Although DVN’s figures might look good on the surface, the truth is she had some bad games that cost Surrey dearly. Same with Marsh and Sciver. Kapp was generally pretty good though.
I was impressed with Glenn. Is she regarded as a better T20 bowler than Yorkshire’s Levick? I noticed that she had some ability with the bat and is also very tall, like Ecclestone, which helps with getting that all-important extra bounce.
Emma Lamb deserves a mention – she might have gone a bit under the radar at times but did a pretty useful job for Lancs Thunder – opening the bowling and scoring some fast middle order runs, both under pressure in an overall under-performing side.
I feel England have missed a trick in “de-contracting” Farrant. I have never seen anyone (apart from Stuart Broad once this summer) move the ball off the seam as much as Farrant. Brunt isn’t going to last forever and Tash, with a bit of encouragement and a bit more control, could genuinely terrorise batters the world over.
Goodbye to the KSL ; hello to England v Thailand in the T20 World Cup. I trust we had spies up there in Fife this week.