Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Why Shrubsole Deserves to be on the Cricketer of the Year Shortlist

The ICC have announced their shortlists for Cricketer of the Year, which is separated-out into the two main formats: ODI and T20. (A pity for Heather Knight that there is no award for Women's Tests; but as there was only one of them played in 2013, it is probably fair enough!)

The ODI shortlist includes two England players: Charlotte Edwards and Anya Shrubsole; and it is the latter upon whom I want to focus today.

In order to understand Shrubsole's presence on the shortlist, you have to look beyond the statistics.

Anya's numbers in 2013 were solid but not spectacular: she took 15 wickets at an average of 17. Ahead of her, Colvin (19 at 19), Brunt (17 at 19) and (a little bit of a surprise this one) Arran Brindle (15 at 15) all had better years on paper.

But the award isn't decided on paper - it is decided by a team of former players and expert journalists, including Women's TMS regular Alison Mitchel.

Shrubsole's role as one of England's opening bowlers is to be lean and mean, and in this she excels. She doesn't take all the wickets, but (along with Brunt) she sets up the platform for everyone else by roughing-up the openers and piling on the pressure which later bowlers like Colvin can exploit.

Concluding, it does have to be said that Shrubsole has no chance whatever of winning the award - Staphanie Taylor is a shoe-in for her all-round performances; but nevertheless Anya's presence on the shortlist is a major achievement in itself and underlines her importance to this England team.

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