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Women's Cricket

2017 in review: Danni, the champion of the world

women's cricket
Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner 3 minute read

At No. 3 in our list of women’s innings of the year, a knock that propelled its maker from amongst the pack to the very forefront of the game.

Danni Wyatt: 100 (57b, 13x4s, 2x6s), 3rd T20 v Australia, Manuka Oval, Canberra, 21 November

In the lead-up to the World Cup, Danni Wyatt thought she’d finally found her role with England. “In the past I’ve been up and down the order, in and out of the side,” she told WCM magazine editor Jo Harman. “It helps knowing that the coach actually believes in me and knowing what my role is: to come in and try and hit some boundaries and run hard from ball one.”

The irony is that until her career-changing knock last month, it seemed that role was at No. 6 – a position from where she scored a maiden international fifty in the first T20I in Sydney. But with Australia’s victory in that match confirming their retention of the Ashes, Wyatt was moved up to open. There was nothing to lose.

It was a decision that paid off magnificently, as the 26-year-old smashed an audacious 57-ball hundred to help England achieve the highest-ever chase in T20 internationals. It was another example of the belief that head coach Mark Robinson has instilled in his team – even at 30-3, needing 10 an over, Wyatt and captain Heather Knight didn’t panic – and it should cement her spot at the top of the order for the foreseeable future.

It was an innings that had been years in the making. Wyatt made her England debut in 2010, playing 123 games before that promotion-earning half-century, and while it’s true that she has had to fill several roles, batting everywhere from Nos.1-8 in both T20I and ODI cricket, it’s also the case that until now she hadn’t made any slot her own. Her average with the bat coming into this winter’s Ashes across all international cricket was 13.80, and while her record with the ball is more serviceable, she had only bowled 11.4 overs in the last three years.

All this was made more frustrating because her talent has never been in doubt, and she made an immediate impression on debut seven years ago, hitting a brisk 28 not out to guide England to a two-wicket victory against India with a ball to spare. Wyatt has an excellent domestic record and has been described as the most natural athlete and six-hitter in the England squad. Investing in her made sense, but her selection was getting harder and harder to justify. Now one of England’s most exciting players might just have found her perfect role.

This article first appeared in issue 2 of Wisden Cricket Monthly. Find out what Nos. 4 and 5 in our list of women’s innings of the year are.

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