Akshay Gopalakrishnan runs the rule over Wisden’s women’s team of the 2000s, as picked out by Wisden India editor-at-large Karunya Keshav.
The 2000s was a momentous decade for women’s cricket. There were three World Cups, the introduction of an all new global tournament that, a decade later, would nearly sell out the MCG in one of the sport’s greatest occasions, and a whole host of legends played out large portions of their careers.
With selections considering performances across formats, here is Wisden’s women’s team of the 2000s:
Stats correct for Jan 1, 2000 to Dec 31, 2009
Belinda Clark (capt)
6 Tests, 118 runs @ 11.80
63 ODIs, 2,386 runs @ 42.60, 2 100s, HS: 146*
1 T20I, 4 runs @ 4.00
The two-time World Cup-winning captain also leads this team. Clark was a significant member of Australia’s outfit in the 2000s, excelling in Test and ODI cricket with an average over 45 in each. She is still Australia Women’s second highest Test run-scorer ever and their top scorer in ODIs.
Her unbeaten 229 is also the highest score in women’s one-day internationals ever, though it came just outside this decade, all the way back in 1997. Her crowning achievements in this decade include her 91 in the 2001 World Cup final, No.5 in Wisden’s women’s innings of the 2000s, and leading her team to the 2005 World Cup title in an unbeaten run.
13 Tests, 873 runs @ 41.57, 2 100s, HS: 117
113 ODIs, 3,174 runs @ 34.87, 2 100s, HS: 139*
19 T20Is, 619 runs @ 41.26, SR: 116.35, 4 50s, HS: 76*
At one point the youngest woman to have played for England, Edwards went on to become one of the most significant figures in not just women’s cricket, but England cricket as a whole. Having made her debut as a 16-year-old in 1996, Edwards had her golden years in the 2000s.
Edwards began the decade with a ligament injury, which she picked up while playing hockey, but returned with an undiminished thirst for runs that saw her ascend to the England captaincy in 2005. Under Edwards’ leadership, England clinched the treble of the 50-over World Cup, the T20 World Cup and the Ashes within months of each other in 2009.
Edwards’ phenomenal career numbers were proof enough of her greatness, but she solidified her legacy when she was awarded an MBE in June 2009, for her services to cricket.
9 Tests, 610 runs @ 43.57, 1 100, HS: 209*, 9 wickets @ 14.77
108 ODIs, 3,932 runs @ 51.73, 7 100s, HS: 154*, 55 wickets @ 22.69
15 T20Is, 405 runs @ 50.62, SR: 125.77, 2 50s, HS: 96*, 3 wickets @ 12.33, ER: 6.16
Player of the Match in the 2005 World Cup final, Rolton was a feared and respected bruiser. Equally, she could build big innings against the red ball, and was once the holder of the record for the highest women’s Test score, when she made an unbeaten 209 against England at Headingley in the 2001 Ashes. Rolton’s 141 women’s ODI appearances used to be an Australian record, until she was surpassed by Alex Blackwell. In 2006, Rolton was named the ICC Female Player of the Year, the first recipient of the award.
14 Tests, 1,019 runs @ 44.30, 4 100s, HS: 177
110 ODIs, 3,656 runs @ 41.54, 8 100s, HS: 156*
14 T20Is, 442 runs @ 49.11, SR: 128.48, 2 50s, HS: 76*
Claire Taylor first made an impact with a century for England Women in the second Test against Australia at Headingley in 2001. By the time she followed it up with twin centuries against South Africa in the 2003 home series, she was one of the top batters in the England unit.
Her unbeaten 156 at Lord’s against India in 2006 is the highest ODI score for any cricketer, male or female, at the venue, breaking Viv Richards’ previous record of 138 not out in the 1979 World Cup final. In a career loaded with achievements, Taylor was the No.1-ranked batter in the first ICC women’s rankings, which were released in 2008. She rounded off the decade by being named Player of the Tournament as England lifted the World Cup in 2009 and was also named as the first female Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
8 Tests, 572 runs @ 52.00, 1 100, HS: 214
112 ODIs, 3,431 runs @ 47.00, 1 100, HS: 108*
6 T20Is, 170 runs @ 42.50, SR: 98.83, 1 50, HS: 51*
The most prolific run-maker in women’s ODIs ever, Mithali Raj is the greatest batter India Women have ever produced, lasting two whole decades at the top level. She led India to two World Cup finals, a distinction that has eluded every other Indian captain in history, male or female.
Raj’s 214, which she achieved against England Women at Taunton in 2002, is one of only seven double centuries in women’s Tests, and was, for a brief period, the highest individual score in women’s Tests, until it was eclipsed two years later by Pakistan’s Kiran Baluch. She also played a defining role in taking India Women to their maiden World Cup final, in 2005, when she slammed an unbeaten 91, standing on one knee, against a fearsome New Zealand pace attack – a knock that is rated among the finest in women’s cricket.
5 Tests, 273 runs @ 39.00, HS: 88*, 11 wickets @ 25.81
63 ODIs, 1376 runs @ 30.57, HS: 94, 71 wickets @ 23.80, 1 five-wicket haul, BBI: 7-24
13 T20Is, 317 runs @ 28.81, SR: 122.39, 2 50s, HS: 56, 15 wickets @ 16.20, ER: 5.52, BBI: 4-21
The left-arm spinner was one of the driving forces behind Australia’s ascent to the World Cup title in 2005, as she topped their wicket charts, with 11 scalps in six matches. Shelley’s numbers were quite astounding, as she averaged 8.27, gave away runs at 2.06 an over, and struck once in 24 balls. She is also a capable batter, with a one-day international century and a pair of Test fifties to her name, and spent a part of her career as an opener, and so fits naturally into this team as an all-rounder.
7 Tests, 406 runs @ 33.83, 1 100, HS: 120*, 21 wickets @ 20.23, 1 five-wicket haul, BBI: 5-30
93 ODIs, 2,346 runs @ 34.50, 2 100s, HS: 104*, 100 wickets @ 25.91, BBI: 4-20
14 T20Is, 232 runs @ 21.09, SR: 104.03, HS: 46, 18 wickets @ 15.72, ER: 5.62, BBI: 3-11
The second all-rounder in this team, Sthalekar has three hundreds and two five-wicket hauls in international cricket. Sthalekar was a world-class all-rounder in her heyday, with a batting average of over 30 and a bowling average just a tick over 20 in Test cricket, a rare phenomenon in international cricket, small as the sample size may be.
She was also a part of Australia’s leadership group during the 2000s, serving as a deputy in the side led by Rolton, the same cricketer she beat to claim Australia’s Women’s International Cricket of the Year award in 2007.
Rebecca Rolls (wk)
1 Test, 71 runs @ 71, HS: 71
81 ODIs, 1,886 runs @ 25.83, 2 100s, HS: 114
2 T20Is, 80 runs @ 40, SR: 129.03, HS: 41
Equally effective behind the stumps and in front of them, Rolls was good enough to open the batting for New Zealand, and often destroyed attacks with her enormous hitting power. Her 133 dismissals in ODIs are also, by a distance, the most ever for a New Zealand wicketkeeper. Rolls hit 2,201 runs, including two centuries, in one-day cricket, and was a member of the New Zealand squad that lifted the World Cup at the start of the century.
8 Tests, 33 wickets @ 16.36, 3 five-wicket hauls, BBI: 5-25
100 ODIs, 109 wickets @ 22.66, 1 five-wicket haul, BBI: 5-16
6 T20Is, 2 wickets @ 60.50, ER: 5.50, BBI: 2-14
Jhulan Goswami is one of the fastest bowlers to have played the women’s game and its most successful in the one-day format, where she sits on top of the all-time wicket charts. Goswami’s golden period in the decade came in 2006-07, starting with the England tour, for which she was named vice-captain.
Goswami played a decisive hand in India’s series win, scoring a fifty as a nightwatchman in the first Test and following it up with a 10-wicket match haul – her career-best – in the second. Goswami’s other major contribution with the bat in this decade came in 2002, when she partnered Mithali Raj during her 214 against England in Taunton, and put on 157, a record partnership for the seventh wicket in Test cricket. In 2007, Goswami was named ICC Women’s Player of the Year.
7 Tests, 44 wickets @ 13.56, 2 five-wicket hauls, BBI: 5-29
74 ODIs, 127 wickets @ 16.88, 3 five-wicket hauls, BBI: 16.88
2 T20Is, 0 wickets, ER: 4.00
The ICC Hall of Famer was the undisputed fastest bowler in the world. A two-time World Cup winner, Fitzpatrick was a prominent member of the Australia sides that lifted the World Cup in 1997 and 2005. Fitzpatrick was also the first female bowler to breach the 150-wicket mark in one-day cricket, essentially making her a shoo-in to this side.
6 Tests, 23 wickets @ 23.00, BBI: 4-71
80 ODIs, 126 wickets @ 15.65, 2 five-wicket hauls, BBI: 5-20
A nightmare to face on helpful tracks and effective with her flight on ones that aren’t, Neetu David had a knack for picking up wickets. She averaged four per game in Test cricket, where her wickets cost just under 19 each. Her 8-53 are the best figures for a female bowler in Test history. In ODIs, she claimed 141 wickets at 16.34. David was also highly parsimonious, with an economy rate of under three in ODIs and under two in Tests.