WWT20 Preview – Can New Zealand End The Era Of Aussie Dominance?

The WWT20 gets underway on Tuesday, with hosts India taking on qualifiers Bangladesh in Bangalore. But who will be lifting the trophy two-and-a-half weeks later in Kolkata?

If you’ve got smart money, it is probably on Australia, who have won the last 3 WWT20 tournaments, not to mention the World Cup in 2013 as well. Plus, if you were a conspiracy theorist, you’d have to think that there was a good reason why both “Meg Lanning” and “Machine” begin with the letter “M” – it just can’t be a coincidence!

However, recent form might suggest that the era of Australian dominance could be coming to an end. The table below shows the win percentages in the past 12 months for the top teams.

Team Played Won Win %
New Zealand 9 7 78%
England 6 4 67%
India 9 6 67%
West Indies 9 5 56%
Australia 12 6 50%
South Africa 9 4 44%

There is little room for doubt – New Zealand are the “form” team at the moment – and this is backed up by the more sophisticated rankings maintained by Women’s Cricket Blog.

The White Ferns recent success isn’t based on a single player either. In that past year they have had match-winning performances with the bat from Suzie Bates (54 off 53 v Australia); Rachel Priest (60 off 34 v India); and Sophie Devine (70 off 22 (sic!!) v India); and whilst her recent international form hasn’t been great, you can’t count out Sara McGlashan either, who hit 366 runs in WBBL, including a top knock of 79*, and has a highest international score of 84.

Their bowling is arguably their weakness, but whilst we might have said a year ago that women’s T20 was less of a batsman’s game than the men’s equivalent, if anyone is in a position now to prove that has changed it is New Zealand, and that is why they are our tip for the trophy in 2016.

Agree? Disagree? Vote now! (And Have Your Say below!)

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EXCLUSIVE: Kia To Sponsor Super League

CRICKETher understands that Kia are set to be announced as the sponsor of the up-coming Women’s Cricket Super League, which will be known as the Kia Super League, or KSL for short.

The Korean car manufacturer already sponsor the England women’s team, providing the players with cricket-white Kia Sportage’s as part of the deal.

Kia believe that the women’s game provides an ideal synergy with their reach into the so-called “soccer-mom” market; and this extended deal can be considered something of a coup for the ECB in an increasingly challenging sponsorship environment.

OPINION: Talk Is Cheap As Women Fly Economy To World Cup

In an irony which we have reason to believe was not lost on our friends at the ECB, England’s top male and female cricketers found themselves promoting a campaign for gender equality less than 24 hours after flying to the T20 World Cup in somewhat less than equal circumstances.

The ‘Pledge For Parity’ hashtag which dominated Twitter on International Women’s Day was heavily promoted by the ECB; but while Joe Root and Eoin Morgan took a luxurious business class flight to India, Sarah Taylor and the women’s team were on a different plane… cramped up in economy.

It is important to note that the flights were paid for by the ICC not the ECB; and to recognise that this has happened against a background of the ICC having considerably increased their level of investment in this event, in terms of prize money and broadcast coverage.

Nevertheless, the ECB could have paid for an upgrade to the flights. Indeed, this is exactly what Cricket Australia did; with the Southern Stars flying ‘Business’* after pressure from the Australian government, which threatened to withdraw state funding from the game if more equitable travel arrangements were not provided for the men’s and women’s teams.

So should the ECB have followed Cricket Australia’s lead and provided the upgrades? CRICKETher accepts that these can be difficult decisions, and there is an argument that there are much better ways to spend the £30,000† it would have cost to even bump the players up to ‘Premium Economy’ let alone ‘Business’.

But at the very least, perhaps the ECB could use some of its much-vaunted influence at the ICC to see if something can’t be done about this next time, so that future ‘Pledges for Parity’ ring a little less hollow.

————
* This piece originally stated that the Southern Stars flew ‘Premium Economy’ – this was corrected on 21/03/2016.
† Based on the list price, flying BA.

NEWS: WWT20 TV Coverage – Still More Matches… But Bad News For England Fans

The announcement by the ICC of further expanded TV coverage of the Women’s World T20 in India is good news… except if you are an England fan.

The ICC has confirmed that 13 matches, including the semi-finals and final, will now be broadcast, and all 10 teams will have at least one televised game. (Previously just 10 broadcast matches had been promised.)

However, there is disappointment for England fans.

Sky had previously said that all of England’s group matches would be shown:

But it now seems that only the group games against Bangladesh (on Thursday 17th March) and India (on Tuesday 22 March) will be televised. (Sky’s updated schedule confirms this here.)

The full revised TV schedule is below, but check with your broadcaster to see which ones they are actually transmitting!

(Sky don’t appear to be showing all of them: Ireland’s only broadcast game – against Australia – is one missing from Sky’s schedule, for example.)

  • Tuesday 15 March – India v Bangladesh
  • Thursday 17 March – England v Bangladesh
  • Saturday 19 March – India v Pakistan
  • Monday 21 March – Australia v New Zealand
  • Tuesday 22 March – England v India
  • Thursday 24 March – Australia v Sri Lanka
  • Thursday 24 March – Pakistan v Bangladesh
  • Saturday 26 March – Australia v Ireland
  • Sunday 27 March – West Indies v India
  • Monday 28 March – South Africa v Sri Lanka
  • Wednesday 30 March – Semi-Final 1
  • Thursday 31 March – Semi-Final 2
  • Sunday 3 April – Final

NEWS: Berkshire Look To Future With New Coaching Team

Berkshire have appointed a new coaching team for 2016, led by ex England Test batsman Aftab Habib, assisted by two former Berkshire players: Emma Boswell and Hannah Burr. CRICKETher met up with them this week to find out more…

New Head Coach Aftab Habib played two Tests for England in 1999; and after a successful county cricket career which included a Championship title with Leicestershire and two 1,000-run seasons, he made the move into coaching. He has previously run Women’s & Girls’ development in Buckinghamshire, and more recently coached the Hong Kong national side.

Assistant Coach Emma Boswell meanwhile is recently retired from the Royal Navy, having spent much of the past few years beneath the waves in a nuclear submarine; but still finding time to skipper the Navy’s women’s cricket team. She and fellow Assistant Coach Hannah Burr played together at Berkshire in the late 90s and early 00s, and will now team up again, working with both the 1st XI and the age-group squads.

Aftab Habib, Hannah Burr and Emma Boswell

Aftab Habib, Hannah Burr and Emma Boswell Meet to Plot Berkshire’s Season

Berkshire’s senior squad is likely to have a familiar look to it this season. Though sadly Aussie overseas Crinny Hall won’t be returning, the core of the team which came 4th in last years Women’s County Championship are expected to be reunited for the 2016 campaign.

Beyond the immediate present, Berkshire are looking to build a more sustainable foundation for the women’s game in the county, hoping to emulate some of the success which Sussex have had in this regard under the leadership of Charlotte Burton.

One target is to broaden the base of the women’s game, to the point where there is a genuinely competitive “selection” process for the squads at both senior and age-ground level. This will partly be achieved by strengthening links between the county and the clubs in the area which run girls’ sections.

Another objective is to create the next generation of female coaches for the women’s game, by encouraging all the players in the age-group squads to begin the process of earning their badges by working with the age-groups below them, with the hopes that the next cohort of players graduating from the U19s will have already have achieved their Level 1 and be well on their way to Level 2.

Of course, Berkshire don’t have the luxuries available to some of their rivals with First Class men’s county facilities behind them; but you only have to look at the fate of relegated Nottinghamshire and Lancashire last season to see that sometimes that’s not everything – something that Berkshire’s new team are determined to prove once again in 2016.

NEWS: England Academy Squad Announced For Sri Lanka Tri-Series

The ECB has announced a squad of 15 England Academy players who will be travelling to Sri Lanka to play in a tri-series against Australia’s Shooting Stars and the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side later this month.

The squad is as follows:

  • Georgia Adams (Sussex)
  • Holly Armitage (Yorkshire)
  • Stephanie Butler (Staffordshire)
  • Kate Cross (Lancashire)
  • Freya Davies (Sussex)
  • Sophia Dunkley (Middlesex)
  • Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire)
  • Alex Hartley (Middlesex)
  • Evelyn Jones (Staffordshire)
  • Emma Lamb (Lancashire)
  • Beth Langston (Essex)
  • Sophie Luff (Somerset)
  • Alex MacDonald (Yorkshire)
  • Ellie Threlkeld (Lancashire)
  • Fran Wilson (Middlesex)

Middlesex are well-represented, with batsman Sophia Dunkley, spinner Alex Hartley and the newly-contracted Fran Wilson – who may consider herself unlucky to have missed out on a place in the World Twenty20 squad – all included.

Kate Cross, who the ECB clearly do not see as a Twenty20 bowler and who will not feature in the forthcoming WWT20, is the other contracted player to appear on the squad list. Meanwhile both Lauren Winfield and Laura Marsh will be staying home in England, with the selectors evidently feeling that it might be time to blood some fresh talent.

The Academy team are scheduled to play in six 50-over matches and one Twenty20 while in Sri Lanka. They will be accompanied by new assistant coaches, former England and Sussex seamer James Kirtley and ex-Leicestershire batsman Tim Boon.