Friday, 24 May 2013

England to name new Director of Cricket and a separate Head Coach

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.



  1. Its worth looking at a player's scoring rate as well as their runs. At least one player that is currently 'on the fringe' has a very low scoring rate. Given they are not truly professional I'm not going to name names.
    New coaches, new World Cup cycle - there will be opportunities but the youngsters still have to take them. Interesting times.

  2. Lisa Keighley would be my favourite to take the reigns as head coach but given the ashes will be her first assignment, I wonder how motivated she would be to take on her mates.
    If she is unconvincing or unwilling then assistant coach Carl Crowe should be promoted.

  3. On the basis the batting has been a bit dodgy lately it might be worthwhile getting Tails into the setup somewhere (assuming that's something she would want of course). Clearly Lisa Keightley was a brilliant batsman and could contribute to the batting coaching but she is Academy Coach (well, at least she is at present) and presumably would like to go upwards.
    Given the speed of the appointment either Laney tipped off 'Connie' or the latter is pretty good at succession planning !

  4. Speaking to BBC Sport on May 23rd, Clare Connor said the timing (of Lane's departure) was not ideal for all parties. This statement coupled with the initial plan to appoint an interim head coach for the series against Pakistan in early July leads me to believe that the ECB were caught 'on the hop' by Mark's 13th May decision.

  5. Having a Director of Cricket as well as a Head Coach would provide a great opportunity to promote both Carl Crowe and Lisa Keightley.

  6. Well we got that one completely wrong as the ECB have appointed Paul Shaw as Head Coach. Good luck Paul and congratulations.

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