England's Sophie Ecclestone named ICC Emerging Player of the Year after breakthrough 2018
Sophie Ecclestone claimed 35 wickets in 23 limited-overs matches during 2018
By Kalika Mehta
Last Updated: 31/12/18 9:04am
England Women spinner Sophie Ecclestone has been named as the Emerging Player of the Year by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The 19-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough 2018 on the international stage, claiming 35 wickets in 23 limited-overs matches, starring in the ODI series wins over New Zealand and South Africa and playing an important part during the T20 tri-series victory against the two sides.
Ecclestone was also named in the ODI Team of the Year alongside England team-mate and opener Tammy Beaumont, while all-rounder Nat Sciver made the T20 Team of the Year.
"The most important thing is winning on the field but it's nice to be recognised," said Ecclestone.
"I work really hard to try and improve my game and I've really enjoyed the last 12 months. It was my first full year as an England player after finishing my education so it's amazing to get an award like this.
"There have been lots of great moments. As a team we've played some really good cricket and we did well to reach the final of the ICC Women's World T20. We learned a lot in India at the beginning of the year and we took that into our summer against New Zealand and South Africa.
"We've never said we're the perfect team but we'll keep working hard to get better and that's the same for me."
The Rachael Heyhoe Flint award for Women's Player of the Year was give to Indian batter Smriti Mandhana after she struck 1,291 runs across the calendar year - Mandhana was also named ODI Player of the Year.
Ecclestone, who missed out on selection for last year's home World Cup, began the year strongly as England's leading wicket-taker during their tour to India in March and April with 13 scalps, having picked up a career-best 4-14 in the second ODI.
In nine ODIs in 2018, the leg-spinner took 18 wickets, the joint-third most across all players and eight more than the next emerging bowler (players aged 25 or under on January 1, 2018).
The Lancashire Thunder bowler was also named the Professional Cricketers Association's Women's Player of the Year in October, with her team-mates voting for her to earn the accolade.
Opener Beaumont was rewarded for another fine year with the bat at the top of England's order in 50-over cricket, after hitting back-to-back centuries at Hove and Canterbury as the hosts completed a comeback ODI series win over South Africa in June.
In 15 T20Is during 2018, Sciver hit four half-centuries - including a match-winning 52 in the World T20 semi-final against India - as she amassed 406 runs and was one of only four players to finish the year with an average of over 40, as well as picking up 10 wickets across those same matches.
Meanwhile, Mandhana smoked seven fifties in 12 one-day innings, hitting a hot-streak that saw her score five half-centuries in six matches during successive series against Australia, England and Sri Lanka.
The Western Storm batter enjoyed a prolific summer in England, smashing her maiden T20 century off just 61 balls against Lancashire Thunder and plundered a total of 421 in nine innings at a blistering strike rate of over 174.
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award (Player of the Year): 1) Smriti Mandhana (India), 2) Suzie Bates (New Zealand), 3) Alyssa Healy (Australia)
ODI Player of the Year: 1) Smriti Mandhana (India), 2) Sophie Devine (New Zealand), 3) Sana Mir (Pakistan)
T20I Player of the Year: 1) Alyssa Healy (Australia), 2) Suzie Bates (New Zealand), 3) Megan Schutt (Australia)
Emerging Player of the Year: 1) Sophie Ecclestone (England), 2) Jemimah Rodrigues (India), 3) Poonam Yadav (India)
ODI Team of the Year: Smriti Mandhana, Tammy Beaumont, Suzie Bates (captain), Dane van Niekerk, Sophie Devine, Alyssa Healy (wicketkeeper), Marizanne Kapp, Deandra Dottin, Sana Mir, Sophie Eccelstone, Poonam Yadav
T20I Team of the Year: Smriti Mandhana, Alyssa Healy (wicketkeeper), Suzie Bates, Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Nat Sciver, Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner, Leigh Kasperek, Megan Schutt, Ramana Ahmed, Poonam Yadav