After years of dominance by Australia and England, India are now the emerging force in women’s cricket. The team will be challenging for World Cups from this point onwards, so let’s take a moment to look at the country’s best female players.
Who is the Best Woman Cricket Player in India?
In most people’s opinion, Mithali Raj was the best female Indian cricket player of all time. She captained the side for a long period of time and was one of the game’s best batters.
Mithali Raj played in an incredible 333 international games and scored more than 10,500 runs with a best in tests of 214.
Top 15 Indian Female Cricket Players of All Time
The list of national and international records set by Mithali Raj cements her position as India’s best female cricketer. That score of 214 is the highest by any player batting at number one in a test, and she has scored more WODI runs than any other player from any country.
It was a remarkable 19-year career and Raj helped to lay a platform for the successful India team that we see today.
Another player to have recently retired from the international game is Jhulan Goswami. A seamer by trade, she was a very tall bowler who could generate extra bounce from most surfaces.
She also produced some serious pace at her peak and the combination proved to be lethal in international cricket. When she left the game in 2022, Goswami had taken 355 wickets across the three established formats with best figures in an ODI of 6/31.
Along with Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur was a mainstay of the Indian women’s side for many years. She made her international debut in 2009 and is the skipper of the Indian team as of 2022.
As well as being an inspirational leader, Harmanpreet is a reliable batter in the middle order. She’s played in more than 250 internationals and has six hundreds, including a ton in the T20 format.
You can now hear her commentating regularly on the IPL, but Anjum Chopra was once a groundbreaking Indian cricketer. In a career lasting from 1995 to 2012, she recorded a number of ‘firsts’ and was the first Indian to play in 100 ODIs.
Originally playing as a lower order batter, she made her way upwards to become a reliable run scorer. Chopra made one century in One Day Internationals and finished with respectable averages in all formats.
Another current Indian player, Smriti Mandhana generally opens the batting and she is a calm presence at the top of the order. She can score quickly when required, but many see her as a patient accumulator of runs.
Mandhana first played for India in a T20 international against Bangladesh in 2013. She was just 16 at the time and that’s a clear indication as to how highly she was rated as a young cricketer. She’s continued to justify the selectors’ faith throughout her career and is now a regular in the side.
If you follow Indian cricket more closely, then you’ll know that Neetu David has served as chair of the women’s selection committee since 2020. Like a lot of former players, she has entered a career in cricket administration and it will be interesting to see if current stars follow this trend in the future.
David’s playing career spanned a lengthy 13 years from 1995 to 2008 and she played in 107 international matches in that time. She was primarily a bowler and still holds the record of best figures in a test innings with her 8/53 which was taken against England in 2008.
Neetu David was also the first Indian bowler to 100 wickets in WODIs and she went on to claim 182 victims in the two formats.
Veda Krishnamurthy’s ability with the bat was underlined in her very first game as she scored 51 in an ODI against England back in 2011. She was just 18 when she was picked and she continued to contribute useful runs to the team throughout her career.
A powerful batter who can deliver some useful leg spin, Krishnamurty hasn’t played an international game since 2020, but it’s never too late for a recall.
One of the most exciting young talents in international cricket, Jemimah Rodrigues is a powerful batter who can score quick runs in any format. She made her international debut at the age of just 17 and it was clear that the selectors had huge faith in her ability.
In that first game, a T20i against South Africa in 2018, Rodrigues made a solid start with 37 from 27 deliveries. By scoring her runs quickly, she’s earned contracts with international franchises and has played in the Big Bash and The Hundred.
If Jemima Rodrigues can convert those fast starts into big scores, she’ll be a regular fixture in this Indian side for many years to come.
Another familiar name to regular followers of Indian women’s cricket, Shikha Pandey was the key all rounder in the side from 2014 to 2021. She could score quickly in the middle order while taking crucial wickets with her useful medium pace.
Pandey played in 114 international matches in that seven year career and her best returns came when she had the ball in hand. 119 wickets were claimed across the three established formats and her best figures of 4/18 came in a One Day International.
Shubhangi Kulkarni has made an important contribution to Indian women’s cricket in many ways. She has received the country’s highest award in administration and this tireless work followed an impressive playing career.
A leg spinner, Kulkarni featured for the national team between 1976 and 1991 and she played in 19 test matches and 27 One Day Internationals. She made a century with the bat, while being effective with the ball, taking 98 wickets in those 46 combined games.
Purnima Rau is considered to be one of the early groundbreakers for women’s cricket. At a time when the game was still developing, she featured in 38 international matches from 1993 to 2000.
The number of women’s games were limited in that period but Rau still made her mark. She was something of an all rounder but shone more with the ball as she took 65 wickets in those 38 games. Her best figures were 5/24 while Rau’s average of 16.88 in ODIs was an exceptional one.
There are very few elite leg spinners in the women’s game but Poonam Yadav is right up there with the best. This is a highly useful skill in all formats and Yadav is capable of turning games when she’s on her best form.
Poonam Yadav has played for India in all three formats and has made over 130 appearances. Her best figures are 4/9 and, with a little more consistency added to her game, she can still play a big part in international cricket moving forward.
A useful spin bowler who once returned the remarkable figures of 5/8 in an ODI, Ekta Bisht became a reliable member of the Indian team in the 2010s. She was still playing internationally at the start of 2022 but was coming to the end of her career at that time.
Bisht played in over 100 international matches across the three formats and she finished with 154 wickets.
As a slow left arm orthodox bowler, Radha Yadav is one of a number of players in line to take over from Ekta Bisht. She’s a young player still looking to break through, but she’s already featured in 54 T20is at the time of writing.
Yadav has taken 62 wickets from those 54 games with a best of 4/23 and she looks to have a big future ahead of her.
Deepti Sharma is another player who debuted for this Indian side at a very young age. She was 17 when she first played against South Africa in a women’s ODI in 2014 and she impressed with two wickets in that game.
Sharma has been moved around the order but she’s now considered to be one of India’s main all rounders. Her spin bowling is useful but batting is her strength. She’s made just one century so far but it was a big one – 188 against Ireland in 2017. She’s maturing into a fine player and is ready to take responsibility following the retirement of some established players.
What’s been interesting about this list of Indian cricketers is the evolution of the side. We probably are all aware that the current team is a competitive one, but this hasn’t always been the case. Who are the players that have laid the foundation for the existing stars to follow?
This round up helps to answer those questions as we consider some of the retired cricketers from the recent past. It’s been a progression for this India team and, as they’ve developed, they are now ready to challenge the likes of Australia and England for major honours.