England have named their three winter training squads, which include a total of 55 players ranging from 35 year old Charlotte Edwards down to 15 year old Rhianna Southby. The three squads are the England Women's Performance Squad (EWPS), the England Women's Academy (EWA) and the England Women's Development Programme (EWDP) (which used to be U19s, but now appears to have no age restriction).
Despite a poor 2015 for England (both in New Zealand and at home in the Ashes) the only change from last year's EWPS is the dropping of Notts' Sonia Odedra, who, after the EWA tour to Dubai, played no further part in England or England Academy games during the summer. All 18 contracted players remain, with Jodie Dibble, Beth Langston and Fran Wilson again expected to train at the same level without payment. There are no additions from the Academy, although with eight of the 18 contracted players wintering in Australia there should be some opportunities for the Academy players to be called up to train with the EWPS. The ECB have also confirmed that the current England contracts will now continue until the end of January 2016, although an announcement on new contracts will apparently be made before the end of 2015. Given the lack of movement into the main squad it seems unlikely there will be many surprises. England either have great faith in what they have or they are not impressed by what is coming through?
But in the Academy four players have lost their places - Aylish Cranstone, Georgia Hennessy, Paige Scholfield and Carla Rudd, with five girls promoted from last year's EWDP U19s - Sophia Dunkley (opening bat/leg spinner), Sophie Ecclestone (left-arm spinner), Katie George (left-arm seamer), Bryony Smith (hard-hitting top order bat) and Ellie Threlkeld (wicket-keeper bat). In addition Sussex's 17 year old Ellen Burt (right-am seamer/ middle order bat) has been added into the Academy after a good season with her county at U17 and senior level, and in the rain-affected Junior Super 3s in August.
In addition the Academy have also lost their Head Coach Lisa Keightley, who has decided to return to her native Australia. High Performance Manager Jonathan Finch steps into the role for the time being, although I understand that the ECB hope to make a new appointment early in the new year.
In the EWDP eight girls lose their places for 2015/2016, but coming in are Megan Belt, Izzy Cloke, Alice Dyson, Emily Edgcombe, Tiarna Gilkes, Sarah Glenn, Lucy Higham, Rhianna Southby and twins Erin and Lucy Staunton-Turner. Most of those that have been omitted are 18 and 19 and most of those that have been brought in are two or three years younger.
The full squads are:-
England Women's Performance Squad
England Women's Academy
England Women's Development Programme