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5 Associates to Watch at the FairBreak Invitational
Jay highlights five players to watch out for at the upcoming SDG FairBreak Invitational in Dubai
Opportunity, growth, and equality.
These are merely three of the many words I’d use to describe what FairBreak Global means to players from associate nations.
In a global cricket ecosystem where World Cups aren’t inclusive enough, and where the game’s governing body has dragged its heels on Olympic inclusion, the FairBreak Invitational offers associate players the chance to grow against high-quality opposition.
Here are five associate cricketers to watch out for during FBI 22, which is set to take place from May 4th – 15th in Dubai.
Sita Rana Magar (Nepal and Tornadoes)
Role: All-rounder - Left-arm spinner; left-hand top-order batter
The length of Sita Rana Magar’s iconic ponytail is a metaphor for her longevity in the game. At the T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier held in November 2021, she was the only surviving member of Nepal’s first-ever women’s team, the establishment of which in 2007 was driven in large part by Lekh Bahadur Chhetri, Nepal’s second-ever men’s captain.
The all-rounder is by some distance the top run-scorer for Nepal in T20Is with 439 runs at an average of 27.43. She is also Nepal’s highest T20I wicket-taker with 21 scalps; two ahead of skipper Rubina Chhetri who will turn out for The Barmy Army Team.
Sita earned the player-of-the-tournament award at the Asia Qualifier where her proactive approach as an opener combined with her frugal spells in the middle overs earned her many plaudits. She accumulated 100 runs in five innings while picking up six wickets at an economy rate of 4.25.
How can Tornadoes utilize her?
As a southpaw, she could partner Sophie Devine at the top of the order. With the ball, she could form a potent spin bowling core along with skipper Stafanie Taylor and South African leg-spinning all-rounder Sune Luus.
Kary Chan (Hong Kong and South Coast Sapphires)
Role: Left-arm spinner; left-hand batter
As we wrote about in our exclusive interview with Kary Chan a few months ago, she is literally the poster girl of Hong Kong cricket. At the age of 13, the now Hong Kong skipper was identified by former Hong Kong Men’s Head Coach Lal Jayasinghe at a school outreach program and fast-tracked into hard ball cricket. Fast forward two years and she was included as a non-playing member of Hong Kong’s squad at the 2012 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
Three months later, she was pushed up to open the batting against the UAE in the 2013 ACC Women’s Championship. The faith shown in Kary was an investment in the future. In her first two years of international cricket, she didn’t always get to bowl and she was often dismissed for single-digit scores.
Yet, the years invested in Kary have paid rich dividends. As things stand, she is Hong Kong’s top run-scorer in T20Is with 401 runs along with being their top wicket-taker with 32 scalps.
Make no mistake; Kary Chan is an all-rounder in every sense of the word. Along with captaining the national team, she is the Head of Women’s Cricket at the Hong Kong Cricket Club, a position she earned after excelling as a Development Officer for Cricket Hong Kong.
How can Sapphires utilize her?
Kary is known to maintain a low dot ball percentage in the middle overs, where she is just as proficient at dancing down the track as she is at using the depth of her crease.
She bats at number four for Hong Kong, which is a role she’d also thrive in for the Sapphires.
With the ball, she tends to operate in the Powerplay for Hong Kong but her immaculate control makes her an asset at any stage of the innings. That she may well bowl in tandem with skipper Sana Mir is a mouth-watering prospect!
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Laura Cardoso (Brazil and The Barmy Army Team)
Role: Right-arm seamer; right-hand middle order batter
3 required off the last over. Five wickets in hand. You’re backing the batting side, aren’t you?
Well, teenager Laura Cardoso had other ideas when Brazil squared off against Canada at the T20 World Cup Americas Qualifier in October of last year.
She took a hat-trick, including two pinpoint perfect yorkers that bowled Hala Azmat and Hiba Shamshad. Either side of that, Brazil affected two run outs to help Cardoso restrict Canada to just one run in the most dramatic over in Brazillian cricket history.
It’s obvious: Laura Cardoso can bowl. Yet, when Brazil skipper Roberta Moretti appeared on the All Over Cricket Podcast, she was quick to praise Cardoso’s batting prowess.
‘Not even when I was in Australia or England I saw someone with hands as quick as she has,’ commented Moretti, who is also Cardoso’s teammate at the Barmy Army Team.
How can The Barmy Army Team utilize her?
When you’re part of a batting line-up that includes Laura Wolvaardt, Heather Knight, and Deandra Dottin, there is a chance that your opportunities might be slightly limited. Cardoso batted at four for Brazil during the Americas Qualifier, but there is every chance she could slot in further down the order during the Invitational.
She is likely to feature more prominently with the ball, where she has clearly demonstrated her ability at the end of an innings.
Anju Gurung (Bhutan and Falcons)
Role: Left-arm swing bowler
The Bhutan vice-captain has a smooth run-up, rhythmical action, and an exaggerated leap before she delivers the ball. Along with her accuracy, she has the rare ability to bring the ball back into right-handers, an asset that was on show for the first time to an international audience at the live-streamed Asia Qualifier.
She took 7 wickets in 5 games at an economy rate of 4.05 and was arguably the bowler of the tournament.
The variety that she adds with her left-arm angle is something that is sorely missing in full member international cricket. Fresh off a ten-day training stint in Thailand, where she bowled to members of the world’s strongest associate team, Anju will prove to be a handful if she can hit the ground running.
How can the Falcons utilize her?
The Falcons may have the best fast bowling attack in the tournament with Marizanne Kapp and Jahanara Alam also in the squad. With German left-arm seamer Tina Gough also among their ranks, it’s hard to predict how many games Gurung will play during the tournament. Yet, if she does make the starting line-up, she has to open the bowling.
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Theertha Satish (UAE and Falcons)
Role: Left-hand top three batter; wicket-keeper
Having turned 18 just two weeks ago, southpaw Theertha Satish is perhaps the most talented name on this list. Remarkably, the multi-sport athlete only took up cricket two years ago after watching Tamil movie Kanaa about a young girl who wants to play in the World Cup.
In her very first international assignment, she topped the tournament run charts at the Asia Qualifier with 165 runs in five innings. Satish is an audacious batter, who judges length very quickly, is dangerous on the leg side, and is unafraid to hit against the spin or clear the infield.
How can the Falcons utilize her?
Satish bats in the top three for the UAE and occasionally opens the batting. Given the presence of Chamari Athapaththu in the top-order, Satish may have to bat outside of the top three if the Falcons want to maintain a left-right batting combination at the crease.
Satish’s keeping is still a work in progress, so if Thailand’s Nannapat Koncharoenkai plays, we’re unlikely to see Satish behind the sticks.
Who among these associate players are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments and be sure to subscribe to All Over Cricket for more content throughout the SDG FairBreak Invitational!
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