Within two weeks of Mark Lane stepping down as England Women's Cricket Coach it seems the ECB are set to announce in the next few days a new Director of Women's Cricket and a new Head Coach to replace him.
Given that England have a mini-series against Pakistan starting at the beginning of July and the Ashes Series in August, an early appointment was perhaps not too unexpected, but the alacrity of the decision points either to some good advanced crisis succession planning, as eluded to by Clare Connor in a recent TMS interview, or that Lane's decision to move on was not a great shock.
Whatever the situation the new incumbents will have their work cut out over the next 13 weeks. England played well but lost the T20 World Cup last October, and played less well and did not even make the final of the ODI World Cup this February, including losing to Australia, and a first-ever defeat to Sri Lanka. They will expect to beat Pakistan with some ease, but the Ashes Series will prove to be a very stern test.
The Aussies have never been in better shape. They hold the T20 World Cup and the ODI World Cup, and the Ashes themselves (after winning the one Test series by seven wickets in Australia back in 2011). All the World Cup winning players received a $10,000 bonus on returning from the World Cup and enhanced "professional contracts" have just been announced for 14 of the 15 woman squad who will be touring England this summer. They have a right to be happy with life.
As for England they are a team in transition. At their heart they still have Charlotte Edwards, who has proved that her batting skills are perhaps at their peak, even if her running skills are not. Sarah Taylor will be hoping to show her undoubted class out in the middle - and now would be a very good time to do that - but beyond these two England's batting still looks unconvincing. On the bowling front Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt are the best opening attack in the world...if they can stay fit....but that is a big "if". Brunt is yet to bowl a ball in anger this summer.
Who do England have to bring in? Pace bowlers Georgia Elwiss (who did well against India last summer) and young left-armer Tash Farrant, who is accurate and picks up wickets, must be names in the frame. On the batting front Tammy Beaumont and Heather Knight have been on the fringes for a while, together with reserve keeper Amy Jones, but beyond these Natalie Sciver and Lauren Winfield have been putting in some good performances this season, and may merit a look at international level, at least against the Pakistanis. It is time for some of the England players to stand up and be counted if they want to feature in plans for the next T20 World Cup in 2014.