India duo of right-arm fast-bowler Renuka Thakur and left-handed wicketkeeper-batter Yastika Bhatia on Wednesday were named as nominees for the ICC Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2022 award. Apart from the duo, England all-rounder Alice Capsey and Australia tearaway pacer Darcie Brown have been nominated as well.
Renuka claimed 40 wickets for her country in 2022 in just 29 matches across the two white-ball formats, filling the void of the legendary pacer Jhulan Goswami. Able to swing the ball or find deviation off the surface, Renuka will likely be one of India’s most dependable bowlers in years to come.
In the ODIs, Renuka was outstanding, claiming 18 wickets at an average of just 14.88, of which eight came in two appearances against England, and seven in India’s series against Sri Lanka. Her best performance came against Australia on cricket’s return to Commonwealth Games, taking 4/18 with 16 dot balls, and leaving them at 34/4, thought the eventual champions chased down India’s 154.
She was a thorn in the Australian line-up in the seven T20I meetings across the year, taking eight wickets, and her performances across the Commonwealth Games and Women’s Asia Cup show she is no shrinking violet in tournament action, claiming 17 wickets in 11 matches, at an economy rate of just 5.21.
A consistent performer in the 50-over game, Yastika set the platform for India’s middle order throughout 2022 with a number of strong performances. She made scores of 41 and 31 in the lead-up to the Cricket World Cup, before strong half-centuries against Australia and Bangladesh in the tournament.
Yastika went on to make another fifty in India’s away 3-0 ODI series against England at Hove, and will no doubt be a name on India’s team sheet for years to come. Her best performance in the year came through a 130-run partnership with Mithali Raj against Australia at Eden Park
In that match, she striked six boundaries in a strong rebuild, and was instrumental in taking the team to 158/3 in the 32nd over of play. India went on to post 277, with Yastika only usurped by her captain Mithali as the top-scorer in the innings.
Alice made headlines as an England debutant at just 17 years and took to international cricket with aplomb, making 119 runs across her first three T20I outings, at a strike rate well over a run a ball.
Two of those knocks came at the beginning of her team’s home Commonwealth Games campaign, with a half-century from just 37 balls against South Africa to ensure a strong start. She continued with runs in England’s home T20I series with India, before earning an ODI call-up soon after.
Her best performance of 2022 was in the Commonwealth Games against South Africa. Coming in at 10/1 following the loss of Sophia Dunkley, Alice, also a handy off-spinner, hit seven fours and a six to ensure momentum swung in the hosts’ favour.
Her efforts, a 36-ball maiden T20I fifty, meant England went on to win by 26 runs. Alice became just the second player to hit a half-century for England as a teenager in the performance, joining wicketkeeping legend Sarah Taylor.
Darcie, tipped to push the speed barriers in the women’s game, took 24 international wickets in 2022. Picking up a wicket in each innings of Australia’s thrilling Test match with England, Darcie then turned her attention to the ODI series as part of the Women’s Ashes, taking 4/34 to decimate the old foe in Adelaide.
She emulated the form at the ODI World Cup with two three-wicket hauls against New Zealand and India on the way to Australia’s trophy-winning campaign. In the shortest format, Brown was a consistent performer, taking wickets in 10 of her 13 appearances, including all but one of Australia’s Commonwealth Games gold-medal winning campaign.
The ICC Awards 2022 will comprise a total of 13 categories, with awards honouring individuals who shone in specific formats, and also across multiple formats in the overall categories — the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year, and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year.