Monday, 6 July 2015

No real surprises in England's ODI Ashes' Squad

England have announced the 14 players that will make up their squad for the three ODIs against Australia, which will not only count for 2 points each in the Ashes Series, but are also worth two points each in the ICC Women's Championship (the qualifying tournament for the World Cup in England in 2017).

As expected there are no real surprises, except perhaps the omission of off-spinner Dani Hazell (it was confirmed that she is not injured and was simply not selected), as England stick to their tried and tested squad members. The only change from the 15 that went to New Zealand in February (and lost the ICC WC series 1-2) is the addition of Georgia Elwiss and the dropping of Hazell and Danni Wyatt. Despite England's poor middle-order batting on that tour Wyatt was given little opportunity to stake her claim for more permanent selection in the starting 11. She has now been jettisoned from the squad for Sussex's Georgia Elwiss, who had a good "Academy" tour in Dubai, but has not had a great start to the county season here in England, either with the bat or the ball. Her highest score has been 34 and she has just three wickets to her name.

England are emphasising the experience within the squad, with a total of 807 ODI caps amongst the 14 players, but the question is whether experience is enough? Talent, form and confidence are also prerequisites. With the T20 World Cup next year and the 50 over World Cup in 2017, both currently held by Australia, England are going to need a lot more than just experience. The New Zealand tour was the time to blood some youngsters and get those on the fringes into the games, but that opportunity was missed. So it is back to the old guard, at least for the ODIs. Should England be 6-0 down after these three games (as they may well be) one wonders if the squad might change for the Test and then the T20s?

Clare Connor suggested that this squad "is one of real strength and demonstrates the depth of talent currently running through the England women's performance programme". I think it actually shows the opposite. Where are the young batsmen challenging for a spot in a team which has serious middle-order frailties, or even in the squad? Batsmen on the fringes are Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont, both of whom have had plenty of opportunities in the past. The England focus has been on the 18 contracted players, some of whom are getting close to their sell by date. England desperately need to get the Women's Super League up and running. There needs to be a showcase for young talent, which the county championship cannot provide at the present time.

Despite England currently holding the Ashes, the Aussies are clearly favourites to take this series (three ODIs, one Test and three T20s). England will need to scrap for every single point they can and it all starts at Taunton on 21st July.

The squad is :-
Charlotte Edwards
Katherine Brunt
Kate Cross
Georgia Elwiss
Lydia Greenway
Rebecca Grundy
Jenny Gunn
Amy Jones
Heather Knight
Laura Marsh
Nat Sciver
Anya Shrubsole
Sarah Taylor
Lauren Winfield

WCB will be at all the games tweeting and blogging as usual. It sounds as though the Press Box will be full of journos, but few if any will have seen a county game this season, and none of them were in the Press Box with me in New Zealand. Hopefully that means that I can bring something different to the table when it comes to coverage. Hopefully I will have your company too throughout the series.



  1. Yes I too am very much looking forward to this women's Ashes series. As we are clear underdogs at least it frees up the nerves a bit. At least one victory in the first 3 ODI's will help our position a bit given NZ are doing quite well.

    I will be there in Taunton for the start and also in Bristol 2 days later for the second game (thank you ECB for the convenient geographical scheduling), tickets and travel now all booked! Can't wait! Unfortunately these may be the only 2 games I get to see live though. Work commitments and all. Thank goodness for a certain sports channel!

    Squad wise it's disappointing not to have Hazell, Wyatt, Corvin and few others in there. It looks like a very conservative selection to me, apart from Elwiss of course, but for all we know she may not even play anyway. The management do have a habit of bringing along people for the ride sometimes.

    It's still a strong line-up though with some real quality, so I will be surprised if the Aussies have it all their own way - we will make an impression at some point. If this team can show anything like the character and spirit that the Lionesses have shown in Canada over the past few weeks (and they have it in them, I'm sure) we will certainly be challenging Australia and snapping at the Southern Stars' heels all the way.

    Once again many thanks Martin for all you do in covering the women's game, as many details can still be very elusive for the casual observer.

  2. One day, and I probably won’t live long enough to hear it, we might get slightly more than nauseating spin from the ECB when it comes to squad announcements. So the rationale behind the squad selection is ‘experience’ – um so at 807 caps that would be 5 less than the 812 caps that were sent out to NZ earlier this year, who, whilst winning the series 3-2, lost the ICC World Championship matches by 2-1, against a NZ team that are quite a bit weaker than the Aussies. Ah yes, I can see how ‘experience’ set us in such good stead in NZ.
    Hazell one has to conclude must be missing for medical reasons – since the start of 2013 Hazell has ODI figures of 133.5-11-488-13 against Marsh’s 69-2-311-6). Is Marsh, out for ages with injury but very experienced more or less risky than the untried but in rampant form Hartley ?
    Wyatt might as well conclude that she will never break into the ODI team regardless how well she plays for Notts. As you mentioned she was given scant chance in NZ and if you can’t break into a team with a serious middle order batting problem, then forget it.
    Um, the batting. This has to be the area where the experience v form is at its most worrying. Set aside Edwards and Taylor (and Jones, who has stood up recently) and what did we get from the rest in NZ – Knight (11,5,79,5,0), Greenway (27, 0, dropped, dnb, 23), Sciver (23, 10, 0, dnb, 69*), Winfield (3, 14, 29 and then injured I think) and Gunn (1,5,1,dnb,dnb but has the defence that she bats so low now that she isn’t a main batsmen) so that’s 15 innings with only 2 scores of 50. If these are our top batsmen then they will be under pressure to improve somewhat against a very strong Aussie side. This also tends to put a lie to the idea that we have real strength in depth – well maybe in the bowling but I can’t see a string of batsmen really stepping up from the Academy (Jones E, Luff and Wilson being the leading contenders but the selectors clearly felt they were less capable than the afore-mentioned).
    So, I guess, given the selectors were never going to go beyond selecting from the 18 contracted players it was, as you say, not too surprising (given their previous selection policy) that they went for these 14. Wyatt and Hazell (if really available) would have the best case for complaint.

  3. I have no doubt this is nearly the best squad available and one we will all support to beat the Aussies but it does beggar the question how many players have been on the development pathway and failed to make the grade?

    Will a super league do a better job of bringing young talent to the fore than the Loughbrough centre of excellence. The Football Lionneses already have a better sporting infrastructure and have now stolen the limelight ahead with women's football on BBC TV ahead of the Ashes (there are no Ch 5 highlights as far as I'm aware) I already see enough young girls with sporting talent choosing hockey, netball and football over cricket.

    The money at the top of the tree will help existing professional but the need for serious grass roots investment needs to be part of the qualification to run a franchise but I doubt it.