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!