It was announced last week that Paul Shaw will be stepping down at the end of the year as England Head of Performance, to be replaced by a new Head Coach in due course.
The question on everyone’s lips is: who should replace him?
CRICKETher thinks there are several possible contenders…
1. Mark Lane
Lane was previously England coach between 2008 and 2013, during which time England had their most successful year ever, winning the World Cup, T20 World Cup and the Ashes all in the space of one calendar year (2009). A recent interview with Lane by Martin Davies of Women’s Cricket Blog suggests that he might well be willing to resume his old post, if asked. Given the lack of coaches around with direct experience and knowledge of the women’s game, he surely has to be a contender – but would the ECB see re-appointing him as a backward step?
2. Salliann Briggs
The Head Coach at Loughborough MCCU, Briggs will be familiar with the majority of the current contracted players, many of whom are either current students at Loughborough or have previously studied there. She has also coached on the England Under 19s Women’s Development Programme and would be well-placed to assess the talent currently coming through the ranks. But does she have the top-level experience to take over the reins from Shaw?
3. Jen Laycock
Earlier this year Laycock made it onto the All Out Cricket Women’s Cricket Power List, and for good reason. She is currently Head Coach on the MCC Young Cricketers program, which provides a vital link between age-group and senior cricket – giving the up and coming generation of 19/20 year-olds the opportunity to spend a summer playing as full-time pros. The likes of Heather Knight and Danni Wyatt have come through the program. She also coaches the newly-branded Lancashire Thunder – a team she previously captained – and works as Lancashire’s Women’s and Girls Development Officer, helping grow the sport across the county. Aged just 26, Jen has risen rapidly through her coaching badges. Could she make the step-up to the top job?
4. Beth Morgan
Having captained Middlesex for 8 years, Morgan stepped down as skipper at the end of last season and this year served as player-coach for her county, who finished in a respectable mid-table position in the championship. Tactically astute, a brilliant (wo)man-manager and with a wealth of knowledge about the women’s game – she herself represented England between 2003 and 2011 – she is CRICKETher’s current favourite for the job. But would she have the authority to coach a team led by Charlotte Edwards, the captain Morgan served under during most of her international career?
5. Cathryn Fitzpatrick
Following her 16 years playing international cricket for Australia, terrorising batsmen with her fast bowling, Fitzpatrick took over as head coach of Australia in 2012. In her 3-year stint in the role, she took Australia to 3 World Cup victories, and their recent anointment as number 1 team in the world, according to the new ICC rankings, is surely at least partly attributable to her. She stepped down from the top job in May so would certainly be free to take over the England role – but would the ECB prefer to look closer to home?
CRICKETher thinks the field is still wide open for other possible candidates to emerge, but we’re interested to know who YOU think should get the top job? Vote now!