England Coach is one of the biggest jobs in women’s cricket; but it is also one of the toughest. Indeed, it is probably the only coaching job in the global women’s game which comes with a genuine weight of public expectation – England are certainly the only women’s team on the planet who can attract crowds numbering in the several-thousands to their matches.
So with the pressure of a home World Cup in 2017 likely to raise the temperature in the spotlight to unprecedented levels, mental strength is a must-have on Clare Connor’s shopping-list.
The new coach also needs to be someone who is happy to deal with the media and answer questions from the press… though we would beg the ECB not to choose someone just because they deliver a good press conference!
One interesting question is how much of a “coach” the new coach needs to be, at least in the short term? With the contracts for 2016 being signed-off almost literally “as we write”, the broad backbone of the World Cup squad will already be set in stone by the time the new coach arrives at their desk in Loughborough; and these players know how to play cricket.
Lauren Winfield is a classic example: she has taken a lot of flack because she hasn’t performed at the international level, as she would be the first to admit; but we’ve seen her at county, we’ve seen her coaching and we’ve heard her talk about the game, and she knows her cricket. She doesn’t need someone telling her how to play this or that stroke; but she does need “something”… and it is that “something”… that je ne sais quoi… which the new coach has to bring.
What is it? We don’t know, obviously; but there is one thing we do know – England don’t currently have it! So it is something that needs to be brought in from the outside; and this means the new coach has to come from the outside. The current setup has taken England as far as it can – the time has come to lance the “Loughborough Bubble” and bring in an outside shot to take us on to Lords in 2017.