Women's internationals flourishing
Today’s launch of the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Women’s Rankings, dominated by England players, reflects the growing profile of the women’s international game.
Claire Taylor spearheads a strong field of six England batters in the top 20 while fast bowler while second-placed seamer Isa Guha leads the parade of five England bowlers in the top 20.
India’s Jhulan Goswami leads the bowlers’ chart and Australia’s Lisa Sthalekar is just ahead of her team-mate Shelley Nitschke in the all-rounders’ listing.
The rankings have been introduced as part of the ICC’s continued promotion of women’s cricket. They will initially apply to ODI cricket only and will help identify where the leading players stand in women’s international cricket to add further competition and context to their achievements.
Sanjay Behl, head of branding at Reliance Communications, said: “Reliance Mobile is privileged to be associated with the launch of the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Women’s Rankings.
“These rankings are the authoritative player rating guide, the first of its kind, which will officially recognise the talent and achievements of the game’s leading players.
"Through the rankings system we hope that Reliance Mobile can play an important role in making the profile of individual players more prominent and contribute to the expansion of the sport.
“We are excited about this encouraging development and are proud to be associated with the overall ICC Rankings for cricketers in the international arena,” he added.
Next year will be huge for women’s cricket with the ICC Women’s World Cup to be played in Sydney from March 7-22. This will be the first time the biggest event in women’s cricket will be played under the banner of the ICC following the merger with the International Women’s Cricket Council in 2005.
Then in June, the ICC World Twenty20 in England will include a men’s and women’s competition running simultaneously. The semi-finals and final of the women’s event will be played at the same venue on the same day as the men’s tournament.
ICC general manager (cricket) David Richardson said: “The ICC believes that great progress has been made in the development of the women’s game since the merger with the International Women’s Cricket Council in 2005.
“Through the development of the Reliance Mobile ICC ODI Player Rankings, we hope to bring added profile to the leading stars in the women’s game, as part of our long-term commitment to growing the sport across the globe.
“With tournaments such as the ICC Women’s World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 providing an exciting opportunity to bring increased attention to the game’s top players, there has never been a more exciting time in the history of women’s cricket.”
Sthalekar revealed she is delighted to be on top of the all-rounders’ rankings.
“It’s great that the ICC is supporting women’s cricket through the launch of the player rankings," she said.
"It will add interest to the women’s game and increase the profiles of the top players in the world.
“Hopefully this will give greater exposure to the women’s cricket and provide more sponsorship opportunities as well."
The first set of the rankings have been released ahead of the eagerly awaited series between Australia and India to be played in Sydney and Canberra from October 31 to November 9.
The other series to be played in a lead up to the World Cup in March 2009 includes the five-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and West Indies from November 5-12 and the traditional Rose Bowl series between New Zealand and Australia from February 1-12.