In the wake of England’s crushing Test defeat last week, one thing that has been asked and asked again is: “Who else could England bring in for the T20s?”
It is an interesting question… and one to which there aren’t any straightforward answers; because although it is easy to say “Drop X”, unless you have a ready replacement it is also singularly unhelpful.
Did Sarah Taylor have a great Test with the bat? No! Is there a better batsman in the county system waiting to step up? No – Taylor is the second highest run-scorer in the Women’s County Championship this season, despite having played just 4 games; and the only player to have outscored her is Charlotte Edwards.
And while both Amy Jones and Fran Wilson should in retrospect have probably played in the Test, neither are really well-suited to the shortest format, so Lauren Winfield should (and in all likelihood will) keep her spot. (Tammy Beaumont for Winfield is a possibility, but probably not one anyone (least of all Beaumont herself) should get too excited about.)
One player who has made the sort of runs at county that really ought to make the selectors to sit up and listen is Danni Wyatt; but realistically the only person she might replace is Nat Sciver, who has hit England’s highest score so far this summer (66, in the first ODI) so it seems unlikely.
Turning to the bowling, England do have a few more options. They will certainly want to bring back Jenny Gunn, fresh from a five-for (plus a bonus half-century) for Notts at the weekend; whilst Dani Hazell remains (lest we forget) the world’s No. 1 ranked T20 bowler, which surely merits her getting some sort of look-in, though England clearly consider Becky Grundy the player in possession of the spinning ball at the moment. (Personally I’d go with Alex Hartley over either of them… but England won’t in a million years, so we’ll speak no more of it!)
Missing out are likely to be Laura Marsh and Kate Cross, neither of whom performed badly with the ball in the Test, but both of whom are perhaps better-suited to the longer formats. Meanwhile Kent left-armer Tash Farrant may well make the squad, but probably not the starting XI, at least while The Ashes are theoretically alive.
So, here’s the team I think we’ll see take the field at Chelmsford:
If it looks a lot like the team that just got murdered in the Test, particularly the batting… that’s because it is; but unfortunately there are no easy answers for England at the moment!
I think your team is going to be close if not the same as the one they end up going with, but I don’t necessarily agree it’s the best or only option available.
“And while both Amy Jones and Fran Wilson should in retrospect have probably played in the Test…”
“…neither are really well-suited to the shortest format, so Lauren Winfield should (and in all likelihood will) keep her spot.”
This is a matter of opinion, and I think it’s time for a brave change.
Winfield looks great at the wicket. She has good technique, power and can hit the ball beautifully. However she just does not seem to do well for England. A bit like what happened with Mark Ramprakash or Graeme Hick, she rarely seems to quite do herself justice when wearing the national colours.
As I don’t think Winfield’s likely to get many runs, picking an in form Jones or Wilson is, for me, likely to have a better result, even if they are “not well-suited” to the format.
You don’t specifically mention Knight but she’s also largely failed to step up to the plate this summer. It’s a shame as she can be a great player. So I’d leave her out for now, and that’s an excuse to include Wyatt or Hazell (again, as if we really needed one).
Sarah Taylor, Sarah Taylor. She seems to be either the most magnificent or most magnificently frustrating player. She’s too good to leave out as you say, but the thing we can do with Taylor is take away her keeping duties temporarily and/ or move her down the order. The former allows her to focus on batting to get back into form and is a convenient excuse to bring Amy Jones into the side (as if England really needed one) and the latter will allow more freedom to bat how she chooses.
I would also do a straight swap Grundy for Hazell. Don’t know anything about Alex Hartley as I’ve never seen her before, but hey I’m (relatively) new to this lark. All I would say is if England can pick uncontracted players (presumably Hartley is one) why not Colvin (another player who’s been got rid of for no apparent reason)?
Therefore my T20 team (the one I’d pick, not the one I think they will choose) is as follows:
Edwards*, A. Jones +, Sciver, Greenway, Wyatt, Taylor, Elwiss, Brunt, Gunn, Hazell, Shrubsole
(Backup squad: Winfield, Knight, Cross, E. Jones, Farrant, Wilson)
Syd, if your prediction of the T20 team comes true it will at least bury the oft stated mantra that we have real strength in depth because if we really did have strength in depth the selectors would be replacing two or three (or four or five !) out of form players.
In a perfect world (which it isn’t) they should select a squad of about 20 including some uncapped players, and then play those uncapped players if we lose The Ashes in the 1st or 2nd match.