Plenty20: Ten of the most successful 20-year-olds so far
The #MeAt20 Challenge has taken hold of social media with several big names posting photographs of themselves at 20. While the challenge has largely given people the opportunity to look back at some pretty questionable fashion choices, here at Women’s CricZone we’re taking this challenge in another direction.
This week we present to you 10 of the most successful international cricketers at the age of 20 (with a few unflattering photographs!).
*Stats included are across formats until the age of 21.
**(Players under 20 have not been considered)
1. Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)
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Having made her debut as a 17-year-old, by the time she was 20, Stafanie Taylor had amassed over 2700 runs and taken close to 100 wickets in international cricket. Her tally included three centuries and 13 fifties in ODIs and nine half-centuries in T20Is. She scored an ODI best of 147 against Netherlands in October 2010 and followed it up with four fifties in the next five games. Well before her 21st birthday, the right-hander had established herself as one of West Indies’ premier allrounders, scoring heavily with the bat, and consistently picking up wickets with her off-spin.
2. Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa)
Move aside, Mithali Raj! There’s a new cover-driver in town!
Since her debut in 2016, Laura Wolvaardt has been widely spoken about as one of the most promising young batters on the international circuit. With a strong technique and excellent temperament, the South African opener started with a bang, bringing up her maiden half-century against England in only her second ODI. Since then she has only continued to improve, scoring close to 2300 runs across formats with two centuries and 18 half-centuries – 16 of which have come in ODIs. The right-hander, who was often thought of as an ODI specialist (averaging 45.63 in the format), recently showed remarkable improvement in her T20I game, proving to be one of South Africa’s best performers in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia.
3. Sarah Taylor (England)
Thought to be one of the most gifted wicket-keepers of her era, Sarah Taylor took to international cricket like a duck to water. Between the ages of 17 to 21, the right-hander amassed over 2000 runs across Tests, ODIs and T20Is, scoring three centuries and nine half-centuries. She proved her excellent behind the stumps as well, effecting 73 dismissals within the first 3 and a half years of her career.
4. Charlotte Edwards (England)
Charlotte Edwards was only 16 when she made her debut for England in a Test match against Australia in 1996. She started promisingly, with two scores in the 30s, before kicking on in the next three years, notching up three fifties and a century (against India). The right-hander proved her mettle in ODIs too, cracking her maiden hundred in only her second match. Soon after her debut, Edwards quickly became one of England’s most reliable batters, showcasing a grit and consistency that would see her dominate the circuit throughout her career. Her highest ODI score of 173 not out against Ireland in the 1997 ODI World Cup in India came in only her second year of international cricket.
5. Deandra Dottin (West Indies)
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At only 18, Deandra Dottin became the first woman to score a century in T20Is, blasting a 38-ball hundred against South Africa in 2010. Her brute power meant she was an important cog in West Indies’ middle-order, with an ability to bludgeon the bowlers around the park at the back end of the innings. She scored as many as 11 fifties when she was 20, eight of them coming in ODIs. While her bowling did not take off at the start of her career, she showed enough promise to be handed the new ball a couple of times.
ALSO READ: The Deandra Dottin interview
6. Holly Colvin (England)
At 15 years and 336 days, Holly Colvin became the youngest player to represent England in a Test match. Colvin picked up three wickets in the match, her slow left-arm spin proving to be a handful for Australia. She quickly became an important part of England’s bowling unit, playing a crucial role in their double World Cup triumph in 2009 (ODI World Cup in Australia and the T20 World Cup at home), taking 18 wickets across both tournaments. Colvin took a total of 108 wickets for England before her 21st birthday – the only woman to do so.
7. Sophie Ecclestone (England)
Another England left-arm spinner who can proudly present her #MeAt20 stats to the world is Sophie Ecclestone, who only recently became the youngest bowler to take 50 wickets in T20Is. Having made her debut in 2016, Ecclestone spent the first couple of years struggling to cement her spot in the side. However, come 2018, she took her chance and never looked back, not only becoming one of England’s best bowlers, but also claiming her spot as one of the world’s premier spinners.
8. Ellyse Perry (Australia)
One of the biggest superstars of the modern game, Ellyse Perry started her international career as a young, tearaway quick who was a fantastic athlete. In her very first international game – an ODI against New Zealand in Darwin – at only 16, Perry returned with figures of 2 for 37 and never looked back. Drafted into an incredibly strong and successful Australian team, she built on that early promise, moulding herself into a vital member of the Australian unit. While she continued to bat lower down the order, Perry’s performances with the ball saw her slowly become the leader of Australia’s attack. Her 93 wickets before her 21st birthday are the most for an Australian at the international level.
9. Dane van Niekerk (South Africa)
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Dane van Niekerk burst on to the scene as a prodigiously talented leg-spinner who could turn the ball a mile. At 15, she made a mark straight away with the ball, taking 3 for 11 against West Indies in only her second ODI. Through the first five years of her career, van Niekerk became South Africa’s lead spinner, taking 92 wickets across limited overs formats, including a maiden five wicket haul (also against West Indies), which included a hat-trick. This period also saw her move higher up the batting order, becoming a reliable middle-order batter for South Africa in ODIs and an opener in T20Is.
10. Sune Luus (South Africa)
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Much like her skipper, Sune Luus too began her career as a promising leg-spinner. Following her debut in 2012, aged just 16, Luus made a habit of getting wickets in large clumps. Between March 2015 and August 2016, the leg-spinner picked up three ODI five-fors – two of which came in the space of three days. Towards the close of 2016 – closer to her 21st birthday – Luus’ batting began to take centre stage when she was moved up the order, scoring consecutive half-centuries against Australia, thus proving her worth as an allrounder.