When England’s Women’s Ashes ODI squad was announced earlier this week, the omission of Danielle Wyatt was no great surprise to followers of the women’s game. But it does beg the question: just what has TAFKAW* got to do to get selected for England outside of the T20 arena?
Even in T20s, Wyatt has had little opportunity to shine at international level recently. Since the contracts were put in place last year, she has played 6 T20s – three against South Africa last summer, and three versus New Zealand over the winter. But in those games, she has bowled only once, taking 0/5; and batted just twice, scoring 0 and 7. So whilst it is true that she could have made more of her opportunities… when those opportunities are so few and far between, is it really fair to expect her to instantly be able to just ‘turn it on’ at the highest level?
Meanwhile, Wyatt’s form at county level has been superlative – hitting runs all over the place, and averaging over 40, with a highest score of 102 in domestic cricket this season. Even her bowling seems to be getting back on track – we have seen her bowl twice this season and while she wasn’t turning it like Holly Colvin at Billingshurst, not many would be; and she has nevertheless done a job, taking 6 wickets at 29, and bowling very few bad balls.
In contrast, Georgia Elwiss, who was selected, has NOT had a great start to the county season – she averages just 19 with the bat, with a highest score of 34; and has taken only 3 wickets with the ball.
But Elwiss did have one opportunity which Wyatt did not – she was selected for the Academy tour of the UAE, where she made a hatful of runs against Australia’s youngsters – the Shooting Stars.
However, we must then raise the question: is scoring hundreds at county level really so much less valuable than making runs against a very inexperienced Shooting Stars team, in a series of “jumpers for goalposts”** matches on a road in the UAE?
Apparently, the England selectors think so… but I’m not so sure!
* The Artist Formerly Known As WAG!
** These games were NOT played under standard international playing conditions, with teams effectively making substitutions and batting on when technically All Out.