Johannesburg - Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail were all included in the ICC Women’s T20 International Team of the Year for 2021, that was named on Wednesday.
The trio were rewarded for impressive performances during the year despite the limited opportunities on offer for the women’s team during the pandemic. Wolvaardt has become a leading star of the sport since the 2017 50-over World Cup. She has transitioned from that format to become one of the top middle over players in the shortest format.
In its citation of her performances, the ICC stated that the 22 year old “gave South Africa much-needed acceleration in the middle-overs, scoring her runs at a mind-boggling strike-rate of 161.” Her unbeaten 53 in the second match against India in Lucknow in March last year, set up South Africa’s series win there, and was part of the reason she maintained an average of 53.66 in 2021.
Kapp and Ismail both played only six matches last year, but the impact they made when playing was significant. Kapp scored 100 runs and picked up eight wickets at an average of 15.00, underlying her status as one of the sport’s best all-rounders.
Ismail combined experience with her ability to bowl at high pace showing that she remains a primary weapon for the Proteas. She claimed 11 wickets at a mean average and strike-rate of 13.00 and 12.0 respectively.
Meanwhile Aiden Markram, David Miller and the format’s no.1 bowler, Tabraiz Shamsi, featured in the ICC men’s T20 International team of the year. All three made a major impact for the Proteas, which had a solid run at the T20 World Cup, before falling agonisingly short of qualifying for the semifinals of that tournament .
Shamsi, has taken over the mantle as South Africa’s premier spinner in both limited overs formats, with 2021 the year when he rose to the top of the mountain in the T20 format. The left arm wrist spinner, took 36 wickets in 22 matches last year, while his economy rate was a miserly 5.72.
Markram’s transition from Test match opener to a dependable middle order batter was a key part of the transformation of the Proteas T20 team. For so long the selectors have looked for someone to provide the innings with some impetus, and Markram provided both solidity - in case of a top order collapse - along with power hitting at the ‘death.’ His strike rate of 148.82 last year underscores his ‘finishing’ capabilities, while his average of 43.84, the result of six half-centuries, showed consistency.
His off-spin, which saw him pick up five wickets, provided Proteas captain Temba Bavuma, with a much needed extra bowling option.
Markram’s transition also played a role in Miller’s more consistent contributions in the middle order. The powerful left hander is constantly under the microscope for not doing more in a very tough position. However last year he scored 377 runs at an average of 47.12 with two half-centuries, while his strike rate was a prodigious 149.60.
ICC WOMEN’S T20I TEAM OF 2021
Tammy Beaumont (Eng), Smriti Mandhana (Ind), Danni Wyatt (Eng), Gaby Lewis (Ire), Nat Sciver (Eng, capt), Amy Jones (Eng), Laura Wolvaardt, Marizanne Kapp, Sophie Ecclestone (Eng), Loryn Phiri (Zim), Shabnim Ismail
ICC MENS T20I TEAM OF 2021
Jos Buttler (Eng), Mohammad Rizwan (Pak), Babar Azam (Pak, capt), Aiden Markram, Mitchell Marsh (Aus), David Miller, Wanindu Hasaranga (SL), Josh Hazlewood (Aus), Tabraiz Shamsi, Mustafizur Rahman (Bang), Shaheen Afridi (Pak)