As Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are ‘a changing,” and nothing speaks more volumes to that in the world of cricket than actually seeing a listing of the top female cricketers in the world that Meg Lanning isn’t at the top of. For the first time in a few years, that’s the case, as a panel of 15 independent analysts concluded that in 2018, Ellyse Perry is the top female cricketer in the world. In all fairness, Lanning lost six months to a shoulder reconstruction which is largely what allowed her No. 1 ranking to be overtaken, but that in no way diminishes the skills or achievements of Perry.
The analysts that decided the rankings included Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent, Mel Jones, and Jason Gillespie. They were given a list of 40 female cricketers to chose their top 20 from. The lists were then collected and tabulated, based on each analysts ranking from 1 to 20, to decide where everyone was rated, strongest to the weakest according to The Guardian. They also disclosed that when the final vote was in, the difference between the top three positions was negligible, with all three cricketers being the only players appearing on every list in about the same position. The drop to fourth place, however, was cited as being significant, indicating that the top three players are seen as truly elite.
The bottom 10 spots on the list, appearing on The Guardian, include in descending order from 20, Heather Knight, Sophie Devine, Katherine Brunt, Jess Jonassen, Alyssa Healy, Natalie Sciver, Dane van Niekirk, Jhulan Goswami, Anya Shrubsole, and Harmanpreet Kaur. All are top players who appeared on the most of the lists submitted. It is an unsurprising ranking in most aspects, other than it can be argued that van Niekirk and Goswami may have been worthy of moving up a spot or two.
From 10 to three on the list, it is very easy to see there is a much higher caliber of players, each of whom is integral to to the success of their team. Starting the top half is Amy Satterthwaite, followed by Sarah Taylor, Smriti Mandhana, Stafanie Taylor, Megan Schutt, Marizanne Kapp, and Mithali Raj. The No. 3 spot still went to Meg Lanning even though she has been out for so much time with her shoulder surgery and rehabilitation. It is hard to argue that even with that lost time, she is not fully deserving of her spot.
Suzie Bates of New Zealand was ranked No. 2. Over the past dozen years, she has remained very consistent and is almost always in the discussion of who is the best cricketer. In the last seven years she has seven ODI hundreds and is truly a batting all-rounder that has seen and done it all according to ESPN. While Bates hasn’t held the top spot yet, she is consistently sitting comfortably in the top three, as she has in years past as well.
Of the 15 analysts who voted, seven voted Perry as the top cricketer, leaving no doubt who the top dog is. At 27 years of age, Perry is cited by ESPN as possibly being the most complete all-around cricketer in the world. She is cited as the driving force behind all of Australia’s world title wins from 2010 to 2014. She racked up 16 fifties in only 26 one-day international innings, including five in a row in the 2017 World Cup. She’s an opening bowler and an athletic fielder, and fully deserving of her 2018 ranking as top female cricketer.