When 14-year-old Lauren Bell made her Division 1 County Championship debut for Berkshire in May, the county’s coaches were keen to stress that this was a one-off due to unavailabilities, and maybe the only game she’d play this season.
It was smart management, reducing the pressure on the player; but in retrospect they needn’t have worried: Bell took to county cricket like a kite to the breeze, going on to make 8 1st XI appearances in 2015, taking 7 wickets at 29 and leaving little doubt that she has a bright future ahead of her.
Blessed with preternatural height, Bell has been christened The Shard by her teammates, so it is no surprise to learn that she is a fast bowler by trade – an obvious comparison among current stars would be Australia’s Holly Ferling.
But whilst Ferling often has to be hidden away in the deep, Bell – a talented footballer – shows impressive grace and athleticism in the field, with long arms that enable her to swoop upon a travelling ball and deliver a deadly throw in a single movement, reminiscent of no less than Lydia Greenway.
Bell’s county skipper Heather Knight believes that she can go a long way in the game:
“I’ve been massively impressed with Lauren this season. She’s got natural pace and bounce and if she can harness that and become more consistent she has a lot of potential.”
And her attitude on the field also comes in for praise from the England vice-captain:
“She always plays with a massive smile on her face which is great to see!”
Meanwhile, Berkshire manager John Dickinson has vowed to treasure Bell’s prodigious talent, promising CRICKETher: “We’ll nurse her and bring her on.”
The great American baseball player Yogi Berra, who died just last week, once said that you should never make predictions, especially about the future!
But just for once, to hell with it: CRICKETher have seen cricket future… and its name is Lauren Bell.