The first few matches of the ICC Women’s World Cup saw the spinners getting some mention — the flight was great to watch, the Indian conditions are usually ideal for spin and stars like West Indies off-spinner Anisa Mohammed were poised to take lots of wickets.
But, more than a week into the tournament, the bowling charts tells a completely different story — the top 12 wicket-takers of the World Cup are all pacers. More alarmingly, there are only two spinners in the top 20 of this list.
Katherine Brunt, who came into the tournament as ICC’s number one bowler, sits on top of the charts with 10 wickets followed by Jhulan Goswami with nine wickets.
Following them are Anya Shrubsole, Sian Ruck, Arran Brindle, Megan Schutt and, Niranjana Nagarajan — all of whom have eight wickets. Deandra Dottin, Lea Tahuhu and Shabnim Ismail have seven wickets.
The best spinner among all the bowlers in the tournament is Sri Lanka skipper Shashikala Siriwardene, who at the time of writing, had taken six wickets, but with an economy of 4.81.
It’s hard to particularly digest the fact that none of the spinners out of eight teams could take more than half-a-dozen wickets. And this includes world number five Laura Marsh (who can also bowl right-arm fast) and world number six Anisa Mohammed.
So, why exactly is this happening?
While there is flight and good line-and-length from the spinners, it seems that they are just not fast enough to have an effect on the batters. This flight maybe good to watch, but it gives enough time for the women to adjust and pick a gap.
Just like Amit Mishra, the leggie who failed to cement his place in the Indian side because he just wasn’t fast enough through the air to trouble batsmen with his otherwise fairly good spin. It meant that after a while, the batsmen got used to him.
The other factor could be that while spin is too easy — the pace could be too hard to play. Some of the bowlers have made use of the morning conditions to great advantage. Even in the day/night matches at the Brabourne Stadium, there wasn’t any considerable dew at all — meaning that the pacers could still get wickets.
Maybe the number of wickets isn’t evidence enough. So let’s consider the number of runs given away by spinners.
Siriwardene, at the time of writing, had given away 159 runs in 33 overs. Shaquana Quintyne has given away 120 runs in 20 overs and New Zealand’s Morna Nielsen 40 runs in eight overs. All of them are expensive, without doing much damage to batters.
Among one of the many observations made during this Women’s World Cup, this one strikes as one of the most outstanding ones. This tournament is certainly one for the pacers.
If you’ve been following the Women’s World Cup, do let us know your analysis on these statistics in the comments section