Jemimah Rodrigues will become the third Indian to feature in the Women’s Cricket Super League in England after signing with Yorkshire Diamonds for the 2019 season.
The 18-year old top-order batter has over the last year become one of India’s mainstays with the bat in the shortest format. Since her international debut in February 2018, Jemimah has amassed 608 runs at a strike rate of 123.57 in 25 T20Is including five half-centuries. She is also one of only three Indian batters to have hit more than 10 sixes in T20Is since January 2018, with a tally of 12. Her exploits have seen her rise to no.5 in the ICC Women’s T20I batting rankings.
“It’s been incredible,” says Lavita Rodrigues, Jemimah’s mother, speaking to Women’s CricZone about her daughter’s journey so far. “Actually, both of us sometimes pinch ourselves. We can’t really believe that this has happened in Jemimah’s life. We feel that without the hand of God nothing else can push anybody so high in one year.”
Jemimah’s 53-ball 72 against New Zealand in Auckland earlier this year was a fine example of the right-hander’s maturity. She played second fiddle while Smriti Mandhana was at the crease, but once her senior partner was dismissed, Jemimah took control of the innings. She danced down the track to drive and loft, sat deep in the crease to cut, and slogged and swept with great authority guiding India through a bit of a middle order collapse to help them post 135 for 6.
This will be Jemimah’s first experience is an overseas T20 league, having featured in the Women’s Indian Premier League Exhibition matches in both 2018 and 2019. She made an impression in each edition of the tournament— 2018 saw her combine with Suzie Bates for a 45-run partnership, and in 2019, it was her unbeaten 48-ball 77 against Velocity that took Supernovas to the final.
Looking ahead to the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia next year, her father, Ivan, believes that the exposure of playing in England will work well for Jemimah. “On England pitches the ball seams and swings, and there is also extra bounce there. I guess it does not do as much in Australia, but the bounce may be similar, so it will be a good experience for Jemimah to go on foreign soil and play there.”
“Also, she will be playing among the top cricketers of the world,” he continues. “That will be another beautiful experience for her. She will have an opportunity to be learning to a new extent and a new level how they approach the game, what are their game plans and strategies, and all that.”
The 2019 WCSL will start on August 6 and will see six teams— Lancashire Thunder, Loughborough Lightning, Western Storm, Surrey Stars, Yorkshire Diamonds, Southern Vipers— play each other twice in a league format. The top three teams will qualify for Finals Day on September 1.
Yorkshire Diamonds, who have signed Danielle Hazell, the former England off-spinner as their coach, will kick off their campaign against defending champions Surrey Stars at home on August 6. Chloe Tryon and Alyssa Healy complete their overseas roster.