Jhulan Goswami, Megan Schutt and other bowlers to watch out for in World Cup 2022

Jhulan Goswami, Megan Schutt, Ayabonga Khaka, Sophie Ecclestone and Anisa Mohammed © Getty Images

The much-awaited ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will commence with hosts New Zealand taking on West Indies on Friday (March 04). Six-time champions Australia are trying to add the most coveted silverware to their trophy cabinet, while defending champions England will aim for one more shot at glory. India and South Africa would like to lift the trophy for the first time, while hosts New Zealand have their eyes set on a home victory. 

The game has changed a lot since the previous edition of the World Cup, with batters taking the limelight, but here are five bowlers to watch out for in the tournament.

Jhulan Goswami:

Performance since 2017 World Cup

Matches: 31

Overs: 270.4 Overs

Runs: 1045

Wickets: 50

Average: 20.90

Economy: 3.86


Since her debut in 2002, Jhulan Goswami has been the spearhead of India’s bowling unit.  Her accuracy with the new ball and consistency in the format is second to none. She is amongst those few bowlers who have taken 50+ wickets since the previous edition of the World Cup. Despite bowling the most difficult overs, the right-arm pacer has been the most economical bowler for India in this period. Her ability to move the ball both ways can trouble the most experienced batters in the world. 

It was evident in the recently concluded series against New Zealand that the Indian bowling unit is dependent on her. What makes Goswami the bowler to watch out for is her skillset as a bowler and her being the leader of the relatively less experienced Indian bowling unit. Her recent performances also highlight how important she is to get the early breakthrough and control the flow of runs from one end.

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Megan Schutt:

Performance since 2017 World Cup

Matches: 28

Overs: 233.5 Overs

Runs: 877

Wickets: 51

Average: 17.19

Economy: 3.75

After an uncharacteristic wayward performance in Australia’s semi-final exit against India in 2017, Megan Schutt has been one of the most improved pacers in the game. Her ability to swing the new ball makes her one of the most feared bowlers. Ranked second in the ICC rankings, Schutt recently went past 100 wickets in the ODI format and has experience of two ODI World Cup campaigns under her belt. 

She has evolved her bowling throughout the World Cup cycle, and now she is equally good at the back-end of the innings with her leg cutters. Despite having destructive batters on their side, Schutt was named the Player of the Series in the Rose Bowl series played in New Zealand. She might not be able to generate pace like Darcie Brown, but she is extremely consistent with her line and lengths. With a considerable decline in the bowling responsibilities of Ellyse Perry, Schutt is certainly the leader of the bowling attack for Australia.

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Ayabonga Khaka:

Performance since 2017 World Cup

Matches: 29

Overs: 233.3 Overs

Runs: 955

Wickets: 51

Average: 18.72

Economy: 4.08

Ayabonga Khaka usually gets the opportunity to bowl for South Africa after the fiery duo of Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail. What she lacks in the pace, she makes up for with her variations in the middle overs. Despite playing fewer ODIs than Shabnim Ismail, Khaka has 51 wickets in the World Cup cycle, compared to Ismail’s 53. Her versatility combined with the speed of Kapp and Ismail makes them one of the most successful pace bowling trios.

She has experience of 70+ ODIs under her belt and the right-arm pacer is four wickets away from being the third South African pacer to take 100 ODI wickets. She has developed herself as a genuine bowler in the death overs since 2017, which gives captain Sune Luus options. She was the joint-highest wicket-taker for South Africa in the recently concluded series against West Indies, including a five-wicket haul. Her capacity to take the attacking bowling of Kapp and Ismail forward along with her death bowling makes her a bowler to watch out for.

 


Sophie Eccelstone:

Performance since 2017 World Cup

Matches: 36

Overs: 331.1 Overs

Runs: 1225

Wickets: 52

Average: 23.55

Economy: 3.69

It is hard to believe that Sophie Eccelstone will play her first-ever ODI World Cup in New Zealand. Since bursting on the scene in the Ashes series of 2017, the 22-year-old has been England’s most successful bowler by a mile. The left-arm orthodox spinner is the only England bowler with 50+ wickets since their victory in the home World Cup. She usually comes to bowl after the pace attack of Anya Shrubsole, Katherine Brunt, and Kate Cross and still is the premier wicket-taking bowler for England.

Even when she is not taking wickets, she has always been economical. Amongst the bowlers who have bowled in 25+ innings since the 2017 World Cup, her economy (3.69)  is only behind Australia’s Jess Jonassen. If we look at some of her recent spells against India and New Zealand, it is evident that she has a knack to break the vital partnerships for England. Even if she doesn’t get any turn in the New Zealand conditions, with her height, she might get enough bounce to trouble batters.

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Anisa Mohammed:

Performance since 2017 World Cup

Matches: 28

Overs: 210.4 Overs

Runs: 845

Wickets: 31

Average: 27.64

Economy: 4.06

Anisa Mohammed is undoubtedly the leader of the West Indies bowling attack. Since 2017, the West Indies spin trio of Mohammed, Hayley Matthews, and Stefanie Taylor has contributed 99 ODI wickets. In recent times, she also captained the West Indies side in the absence of Stefanie Taylor. While captaining the side, she instilled much-needed confidence in young bowlers like Karishma Ramharack.

Mohammed was the leading wicket-taker in 2021 and she is one wicket away from becoming the first spinner to cross 300 wickets in international cricket. The right-arm off-spinner has abundant experience as she is playing her fifth ODI World Cup. In the fast-paced game of cricket in recent years, Mohammed has been relevant for almost two decades and still shoulders the responsibility as the strike bowler for West Indies.