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Women's World Cup 2022

Meg Lanning named the Best Women’s Cricketer on the Planet by Wisden Cricket Monthly

by Kit Shepard 3 minute read

Meg Lanning has topped a list of the 22 Best Women’s Cricketers on the Planet in the latest edition of Wisden Cricket Monthly.

Lanning, the Australia captain, topped the pile ahead of India’s Smriti Mandhana in second place and England’s Sophie Ecclestone in third place.

The list, which considered recent performances across all three formats rather than historical achievements, ranked the 22 best women’s cricketers ahead of next month’s 50-over World Cup. The honour is separate to that of the Wisden Almanack’s Leading Woman Cricketer in the World.

Lanning skippered Australia to Ashes retention earlier this year, scoring half-centuries in all three formats during the series.
Since making her international debut aged 18 in 2011, Lanning has led a perennially formidable Australian middle-order with her smooth strokeplay and, at 29, is still in the middle of her prime years.

Her value extends beyond her batting. Since taking over in 2014, her pragmatic captaincy has led Australia to three T20 World Cup titles and three Ashes series wins.

Just behind Lanning is second-placed Mandhana, whose similarly fluent batting earned her a second ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year Award last month.

Ecclestone rounds out the top three, with the left-arm spinner, aged just 22, already having taken 138 international wickets.
Six countries were represented on the list, with Australia leading the way with seven players, followed by England with five.

South Africa had four, led by elegant batter Laura Wolvaardt, while three India players made the cut. Two West Indians and one New Zealander completed the 22.

In a reflection of the exciting new generation of women’s cricketers, Ellyse Perry, a contender for the greatest women’s cricketer of all time, could only sneak into the list at 21 after a relatively poor year which saw her left out of Australia’s first-choice T20I side.

Likewise, Alyssa Healy, the No. 1 batter in the ICC Women’s ODI Batting Rankings but coming off an underwhelming Ashes series, placed only 20th.

The absence of England’s 2017 World Cup hero Anya Shrubshole and experienced India captain Mithali Raj reiterates the growing depth of the women’s game.

In their place are the likes of Tahlia McGrath, the powerful all-rounder who starred in the Ashes, as well as 18-year-old Shafali Verma, whose powerful hitting lit up the English summer in 2021.

According to Jo Harman, Wisden Cricket Monthly’s magazine editor, Amelia Kerr, 21, would have also made the cut had the list been compiled two weeks later.

“This is the problem with these lists, they become outdated very quickly,” he said on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast. “She would [be in the list] if we were doing it now.”

The New Zealand all-rounder took an extended break from the game for mental health reasons, but returned to the White Ferns in style with a hundred and three fifties against India earlier this month. Her leg-spin also claimed seven wickets in the five matches, the joint-highest for New Zealand.

The veteran presence has not totally diminished, though, with Stafanie Taylor, Heather Knight and Sophie Devine all making the top ten.

The list was compiled with the assistance of several women’s cricket experts, including Raf Nicholson, Syd Egan, Adam Collins and John Leather, better known by the name ‘Hypocaust’ on Twitter.

The full list is available to read in the new issue of Wisden Cricket Monthly, out now, and features written contributions from former England batter Lydia Greenway, Australian cricket writer Geoff Lemon, and Wisden India staff writer Sarah Waris.

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