Cricket and Sciver

2016 had so much in stores for the England cricket team. A shocking World Cup exit. Robinson criticised the team’s fitness, his decision to “sack” Edwards from the captaincy and Edwards calling it a day. Addition of new players and shuffle in the batting order.

A shuffle in the batting order is one of the highlights though as it worked out well for Sciver. From 8th to 6th then to the top-order. Just like the rise in the order, there was a rise in her performances as well.

June 22, 2016.

England was taking on Pakistan. Winfield and Beaumont destroyed the Pakistan bowlers and when one thought there is nothing more left to see, Sciver produced one of the best knocks ever, scoring 80 off just 33 with seven fours and six sixes. It was one of a kind knock. It was the arrival. It was the knock what you call as announcing herself. Then there was a ton followed by a few good knocks.

While the bowler in Sciver took a step back, the batter made up for everything. She was no more wasted potential, she soon made justice, and proved every single critic wrong.

Blame her batting order too. Early in her career, she had to bat down the order, and the likes of Taylor, Beaumont, Edwards and a few more competed against each other to score more, leaving only a few deliveries for Sciver to bat. Also, conditioning training helped Sciver to become one of the best hitters in the world.

Sciver has always been a powerful hitter and was one of the very few bowlers who could swing the ball. She did earn hundreds of haters during her childhood for the same. As she played alongside the boy’s team, everyone hated to lose to her, but they had no other way. Such was Sciver’s talent. She always loved to be on the top right from her childhood. She likes to win contests irrespective of whom she is taking on. Of course, there were too many “being a girl” stereotypes when she was young, and those did indulge fear in the hearts of Sciver. It is not going to be easy to travel alongside the boys and to share the same dressing room. She had to run to the toilet to change her clothes, and she had to tackle a lot of hatred. Being in the new place also added pressure to the young Sciver, but all these helped to build her. These helped to become who she is today.

“She will represent England cricket one day”, said Ross Stephen, a cricket coach from Australia. Sciver laughed at it. I mean, what would you expect from a 12-year-old who was in England for camping with her brother and sister?
The holiday camping had different activities, and Sciver took up cricket that day. Cricket was not even her favourite past time. Football was. She was two when she first kicked the football. Oh yes, she played Netball, Basketball, Hockey, Tennis. How can one expect that?
After years of juggling between the sports and Continent, Sciver settled with cricket.
But Stephen was right. Cricket took over. Possibly inherited from her father who played club cricket. Within four years, she found herself batting with Claire Taylor, one of the best if not the best England cricketer.

The best thing about Sciver is that she finds a way to all her challenges.
2017 World Cup it was. A World Cup that made the headlines for many reasons. There were many great moments, especially, for the Indian cricket team and of course, for the champions England. Sciver had her own moment as well.

Sciver had a wide stance. It was a plus as it helped her to free her hands and made her strong on the offside, but Sciver had weakness too. For example, leg-stump yorker. Literally, everyone found that out and Sciver needed something else to tackle her weakness. Something that wouldn’t affect her stance. Enter Nat Meg.

It was an on-side shot played between the legs, and that proved fruitful for her. I’m not sure how many players have shots named after them, but in this T20 world, Nat Meg is here to stay. Even in one of the recent T20 matches, I saw Hardik Pandya playing the shot.

If you think that Sciver is only about power-hitting, you are wrong. In recent times, there were some responsible knocks from her willow. In 2016, Robinson asked for the players to rotate the strike and I guess, that had hit Sciver harder as she knows how to go to the mode of converting dots to ones and ease the pressure when the wickets are falling around. Even during this #Ashes series, her knock of 88 where she batted for more than 200 minutes and faced 180-odd deliveries shows what she is capable of, especially, under pressure.

Though Sciver has produced some extraordinary performances already, there is much more left in her, and there is much more left for us to see.

Happy Birthday, Sciver!