Ahead of the inaugural match between MCC Women v Rest of the World Women on Monday 19 May at Lord's, Raf Nicholson looks at England Ashes winner Heather Knight.
Heather Knight (England & MCC)
Known to her teammates as “Trev”, Heather Knight grew up playing boys’ and men’s cricket and was the first woman to play in the Devon Cricket League.
She is a prolific batsman
This has evidently served her well: she is a prolific batsman who has consistently finished as leading run-scorer in the Women‘s County Championship.
Called up to the England side during their 2010 tour of India, she impressed right from the get-go, making 49 in her debut ODI.
A graduate of the MCC Young Cricketers scheme, the highlight of her career came last year during the Wormsley Test when the usually attacking Knight proved herself to be equally capable of defending.
England had collapsed to 113-6 but, aided by a 156-run partnership with Laura Marsh, Knight remained at the crease for 263 balls and 328 minutes, hitting a majestic 157.
It was the third highest score for England in an Ashes Test, but more importantly, it allowed the home side to draw the match and go on to win the series.
With a further 140 runs in the ODIs and T20Is, Knight finished as England‘s top run-scorer and she was deservedly named Player of the Series.
On the back of this performance, she was also nominated for the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award.
Other players: MCC v Rest of the World
Sana Mir (Pakistan & Rest of the World)
Leg-spinning all-rounder Sana Mir, who learned cricket in the street as a young girl, has been Pakistan’s captain since 2009.
In that time, she has led her team to gold at the 2010 Asia Games, their first tournament wins in a Quadrangular Series in Sri Lanka in 2011, and their highest world ranking.
In 2011, as a result of this success, the Pakistan Cricket Board offered contracts to its female players; Mir was awarded a Category A contract and in the process became one of the first semi-professional female cricketers in Pakistan.
In 2012, she also became the first female cricketer to be awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s Medal of Excellence, for her services to cricket.
Mir's contribution to the team since her debut in 2005 with both bat and ball has been vital to their success.
She top-scored in their historic one-run win over India in the 2012 World Twenty20 – the first time any Pakistan cricket team had ever beaten India in a World Cup.
On Pakistan’s first tour of England last July, in the second of two T20Is, she made 31* and helped her team to their first win against England in any form of the game.
Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in women’s internationals, Mir has a total of 115 wickets to date.
Marizanne Kapp (South Africa v RoW)
South African women’s cricket has seen some exciting times recently and Marizanne Kapp has been right at the heart of them.
Late last year, Cricket South Africa announced it was introducing contracts for six of its female players and Kapp was amongst the recipients.
And in March at the World Twenty20, South Africa achieved their maiden victory over New Zealand in women’s internationals: Kapp was the star of the match, scoring 23, taking 3-23, and taking her team to their first global semi-final since 2000.
“Kappie” made her debut during the 2009 World Cup against host nation Australia and in the intervening years has become one of South Africa’s most successful all-rounders.
A medium-pacer who relies on a disciplined line and length, in a 2013 match against Bangladesh she became the third woman to take a hat-trick in T20Is.
Earlier that year she had hit the highest score by a South African in women’s world cups with her 102* against Pakistan, an occasion which also saw her break the record for the highest partnership for South African women in a World Cup (128 runs with teammate Dane van Niekerk).
Monday is guaranteed to be a special occasion: it will be her first time playing at Lord’s.
Tickets for the MCC v Rest of the World's women's are still available, click here.