The ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from February 7 to 21 will see the best cricketers from 10 nations play for a chance to join the top four women’s sides at the marquee event in June-July in England.
Here are some of the players expected to make a splash:
Deepti Sharma (India)
Just 19 years old, Deepti Sharma’s understanding of the game belies her age. She made her One-Day International debut in 2014, but it was during the home series against New Zealand in 2015 that she made her first impression. Her unbeaten 44 and an unbroken second-wicket stand of 103 with MD Thirushkamini helped India win that match by nine wickets and seal the series 3-2.
Handy off-spin bolwing, the ability to rotate strike and her sharp fielding have given India a strong all-round option. The team also benefits from her ability to see off the new ball at the top of the order. One of only three Indians to take six wickets in an ODI, Deepti is a bundle of energy on the field.
At a time when women’s cricket in India is entering the professional era, Deepti is the face for youngsters. Hailing from Agra and a fan of Suresh Raina, she took up cricket after watching her brother represent Uttar Pradesh in junior inter-state tournaments. She gave up her aspirations to be a medium pacer, and focused on using her supple wrist to turn the ball and create a pathway to the Indian team.
Chamari Athapaththu (Sri Lanka)
Chamari Athapaththu burst onto the scene with a century against Ireland Women in 2011.
An admirer of Sanath Jayasuriya’s attacking style of play, Chamari Athapaththu is an integral part of the Sri Lankan team. Helped by Kumar Sangakkara’s advice to pace her innings, she has been both an aggressor and accumulator in the batting line-up.