Emerging Women’s Players to Watch Under 21

In our Players to Watch series we take a look at the women under 21 set to light up the Associate world in years to come.

Gisele Ishimwe
Right-hand bat
Right-arm medium

19 T20Is before her 16th birthday despite missing a whole summer due to a pandemic!? Ishimwe may be the beneficiary of Rwanda having a packed schedule after universal T20I status was announced, but even so the all-rounder has a wealth of experience under her belt.

Moving up the batting order in her young career, Ishimwe is now entrusted in the number three and four positions, making starts against strong opposition of Nigeria and Uganda. Her part-time medium pace has not been called upon as much in recent outings, but she is more than capable in playing a role, with a spell of 1-2 off four overs against Nigeria proving her guile.

With African women’s cricket set up for consistent international play, expect Ishimwe’s name to stand out once the world is back to normality.

Nannapat Koncharoenkai - Thai women's team
ICC Media Zone

Nannapat Koncharoenkai
Right-hand batter

As the fairy tale story of Thailand’s women’s cricket team continues to fill its pages, Nannapat Koncharoenkai and the ice in her veins are sure be featured throughout. One of the heroes of their 2020 World Cup campaign, 19-year-old Nannapat is a key figure already, batting in the all-important three and four spots and keeping to some of the trickiest bowlers in the women’s game.

The alien conditions of the WACA were no issue for the right-hander, compiling 33 against a strong West Indies attack in what must be close to the ultimate challenge in the elite Women’s game. Koncharoenkai also struck fear into the English team at the tournament, completing the stumping of Amy Jones in the first over of their clash at Manuka Oval.

For all this poise and presence though, Koncharoenkai also has the game to up the tempo, making an unbeaten 20 (13) at the back end of their innings against Pakistan when they were cruelly denied by inclement weather.

Benefiting from Thailand’s now-world-famous Women’s cricket setup, there is no reason why Koncharoenkai cannot fly past 100 T20I matches for her country, especially when she’s over a third of the way to that mark already. With the gloves and the bat, the teenager is one of the first names on the team sheet for the best Women’s Associate team in the world, and could even take over as captain down the track.

Kunwar women's
Kabita Kunwar presented a player of the match award at the Women’s Champions League. (MyRepublica)

Kabita Kunwar
Right-hand bat
Right-arm medium

Nepal dominated our men’s list, though it must be acknowledged that the country’s women’s team is also packed with youthful talent. The Women’s Champions League is one pathway for future stars to showcase their skills, and while Kabita Kunwar has done just that, she was on the national team radar well before, playing a dozen T20Is already. 

Unflustered by pressure, Kabita stole headlines with a match-winning, ten-boundary knock of 61* (42) at the TU Ground during last year’s Champions League, all the more special considering her Pokhara Paltan side were 5-3 in a chase of 123. On the international scene though, it’s her bowling that has set her apart. 2-28 (4) against Thailand and 2-7 (3) against UAE in consecutive days at the T20 World Cup Asia Region Qualifier suggests she could be a match-winner with bat and ball.


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