NEWS: ECB – We DID Invite Indian Players

The ECB have confirmed to CRICKETher that the BCCI were contacted in advance of the selection of overseas players for the Kia Super League, but that no Indians expressed an interest in playing in the tournament.

This contradicts the BCCI’s claims in an article by Snehal Pradhan on Firstpost that “they had not received any…communication from the ECB and that they could only consider allowing Indian players [to participate] after they did.”

An ECB spokesperson states that they “made contact with the overseas boards for all seven of the [other] teams involved with the ICC Women’s Championship, asking them to invite their players to express an interest in playing in the Kia Super League…None of the 65 players who expressed an interest in playing in the Kia Super League were from India.”

While Indian fans have been disappointed at the lack of inclusion of the likes of Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami in KSL, this suggests that it was the BCCI’s own reluctance (or that of their players?) which has prevented any Indians from being involved.

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NEWS: BCCI Claim ECB Did Not Invite Indians To Super League

UPDATE: See here for the ECB’s response.

This week’s announcement of the overseas stars for the Kia Super League has become overshadowed in the eyes of some Indian fans by an apparent row between the ECB and the BCCI over why no Indian players are involved.

The overseas contingent includes 7 Australians, 4 New Zealanders, 4 South Africans and 2 West Indians… but no Indians – much to the dissapointment of Indian fans:

The ECB had previously claimed to have contacted all the other boards offering their players the chance to participate.

But a spokesperson for the BCCI has appeared to contradict this, as Snehal Pradhan writes in India’s Firstpost:

“A senior BCCI official told Firstpost that they had not received any such communication from the ECB and that they could only consider allowing Indian players after they did.”

[Full Article]

Clearly, somebody is being disingenuous, but the question is… who?

UPDATE: See here for the ECB’s response.

UPDATE 2: This piece on Cricinfo makes it abundantly clear what the answer is to the above question!

LIVE: Kia Super League – Overseas Player Announcements

Follow this page for updates on today’s announcements!

6:15 – The England Academy player allocations will be announced next week. See you back here then!

17:30 – Interesting to consider whether these are the best 18 players in the world – or has it been more a case of trying to create well-balanced teams? No Alyssa Healy for example – did she lose out because of lack of space for another keeper?

17:20 – Richard Pyrah, Yorkshire Diamonds coach, suggests that his main criteria for picking overseas players was success in WBBL: “I wanted somebody who’s been there, done it and knows how to win.” He’ll no doubt be pretty chuffed to have landed Alex Blackwell.

10:20 – Were we expecting any Indian players to be part of KSL? Not really, if we’re honest!

10:15 – The ECB have certainly kept their promise that this will be “The Best v. The Best” – all of these teams now have their very own Ace of Spades – e.g. Loughborough (the one team without a “marquee” England player) now have Ellyse Perry!!

10:10 – In theory, South Africa are touring Ireland during the KSL window, and despite rumours to the contrary, the last we heard is this is still “on”, so we’ve no idea what this means for the South African players named today???

9:45 – Any massive surprises here? Not really! Perhaps we might have been expecting to see South African captain Mignon du Preez in there… but there is still one player yet to be announced!

Lancashire Thunder

  • Deandra Dottin (WI)
  • Sarah Coyte (AUS)
  • TBD
  • Kate Cross
  • Danni Wyatt
  • Sarah Taylor

Loughborough Lightning

  • Sophie Devine (NZ)
  • Ellyse Perry (AUS)
  • Dane van Niekerk (SA)
  • Becky Grundy
  • Georgia Elwiss
  • Amy Jones
  • Beth Langston

Southern Vipers

  • Suzie Bates (NZ)
  • Sara McGlashan (NZ)
  • Megan Schutt (AUS)
  • Charlotte Edwards
  • Tash Farrant
  • Lydia Greenway

Surrey Stars

  • Meg Lanning (AUS)
  • Marizanne Kapp (SA)
  • Rene Farrell (AUS)
  • Nat Sciver
  • Laura Marsh
  • Tammy Beaumont

Western Storm

  • Stafanie Taylor (WI)
  • Rachel Priest (NZ)
  • Lizelle Lee (SA)
  • Heather Knight
  • Anya Shrubsole
  • Fran Wilson

Yorkshire Diamonds

  • Shabnim Ismail (SA)
  • Beth Mooney (AUS)
  • Alex Blackwell (AUS)
  • Lauren Winfield
  • Katherine Brunt
  • Dani Hazell
  • Jenny Gunn

9:15 – Welcome to our Live Blog of the KSL overseas player announcements – we are expecting the news to start coming in at around 9:30am. We’ll start things off with some FAQs…

What’s being announced today? Which “overseas” players are playing for which teams – each of the six teams are expected to announce 3 overseas players. Note that “overseas” means non-EU players – the vast majority are expected to be from Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa.

How were the decisions made? We understand that 80 or so overseas players applied to be part of KSL and a big list was drawn-up which was sent to all the teams. The teams said which players they wanted, with the players also given the opportunity to express a preference, before ECB then made the final decisions.

Salliann Briggs speaks to CRICKETher: On Loughborough Lightning, Hopes for Super League – and Ellyse Perry!

When I meet Loughborough Lightning coach Salliann Briggs on her home turf at Loughborough University, it is the day after Kia Super League England player allocations have been announced, and her excitement about the competition is palpable – and infectious. While Briggs has already worked at Loughborough for nearly 7 years, as MCCU Cricket Performance Manager and coach of the England Women U15 and U19 squads, Super League presents a new challenge:

“[Previously my role] has been a lot about developing individual cricketers…this is going to be a fairly new experience because results matter. It puts me under completely different pressures, but having access to probably the best domestic [women’s] competition in the world now is a great job for me. I’m really looking forward to it!”

Part of Briggs’s excitement comes from the recent England player allocations. She will have Becky Grundy, Georgia Elwiss, Amy Jones and Beth Langston at her disposal during the competition, and while there have been some suggestions that Loughborough have drawn the short straw in having no “marquee” England player on their team, Briggs says that all four were at the top of her list when making player requests to the ECB. She stresses the importance of having 4 players who are graduates of or current students at the university:

“The university are a standalone organisation, [unlike] some of the other hosts. So it’s a big investment for Loughborough University, and we wanted to make sure that we had players that are linked to Loughborough that have actually enabled us to achieve this host status.”

“It was also important that [they] were living in Loughborough. Because part of this process for me is not just a 3-week competition, or a trophy, it’s about making sure we provide the right support for these girls on a year-round basis. So assigning an England player that has to travel 2 hours for a training session, just wouldn’t make sense.”

She also points out that her 4 allocated players provide the core of a well-balanced side:

“With Beth [Langston] I’ve got an opening bowler. With Grundy I’ve got a left-arm spinner, and [there are] stats about how important left-arm spinners are at the highest level. A keeper and top-order bat, Amy Jones. And then Georgia Elwiss, who’s a genuine batting all-rounder. It’s made my life a lot easier trying to piece everyone else around them.”

Each KSL team will also have 3 overseas players allocated to them – to be announced in due course – and Briggs says she is “looking forward to the challenges [as coach] of working with someone from a different country”. She refuses to be drawn on the persistent rumours linking Aussie superstar Ellyse Perry – whose husband Matt Toomua will be nearby, playing for Leicester Tigers – to the Loughborough franchise, though she does acknowledge that it would be a coup for her side were the rumours to be proved true:  “I only wish that we have someone like her!”

She also quashes the suggestion that Loughborough have not yet announced their captain because Perry is to be given the job, saying that it is almost certain that one of the 4 allocated England players – Langston, Jones, Elwiss or Grundy – will be handed the captaincy reins, but that she wanted to wait until the squad returned from the World Twenty20 in order to “have a good discussion with no distractions” with each of the players, and then “make an informed decision” based on those conversations.

Why was Loughborough’s bid successful where others based at first-class counties – notably Edgbaston – failed? Briggs emphasises their history of a strong commitment to the women’s game:

“A legacy of the Graham Dilley era is that we made a commitment that we were going to treat female cricketers exactly the same as male cricketers, and we have always done that…I’d like to say that any female cricketer who’s gone through [Loughborough University] would say, ‘I had everything I needed to fulfil my potential’.”

“The location on campus of the National Cricket Performance Centre and the access the girls will get to that, and the additional conditioning facilities and expertise there, was central to our bid.”

While there’s suddenly a lot more interest in women’s cricket around the country now the ECB have invested £3.5 million in the KSL, the awarding of the franchise to Loughborough is, according to Briggs, an acknowledgement by the ECB of the investment that Loughborough have long made in the women’s game – with at times half of the England team having graduated from the University and her MCCU programme.

Briggs is clearly driven partly by the desire to win the inaugural Super League, which would surely be a feather in her coaching cap. However, she stresses that to her, the competition is about more than just results on the pitch:

“It’s about making sure we provide the right support for these girls on a year-round basis. I want to feel that all 15 players have got access to everything they need…Also, we want to make sure that we’re doing our bit in this local area, in the Midlands, in getting a new wave of spectators and young players that really enjoy women’s cricket.”

Loughborough’s aim, according to Briggs, is to attract between 300 and 700 people at each of their 3 home matches, and they are beginning their games at 4.30pm in order to encourage as many people as possible to come along. While Briggs recognises the criticism Loughborough – as the only host without a first-class county ground – have received, she is quick to point out that their smaller venue size will actually be more conducive to a good atmosphere than some of the other host stadiums. She also emphasises that they are working hard behind the scenes to make the spectator experience as friendly as possible:

“Not playing in a stadium offers us (and ECB) some unique opportunities to try some development initiatives with girl cricketers, and we’ve already talked to the local County Boards about this. We have another large playing area adjacent to the match ground where we can host some small games and coaching clinics/ ‘have a go sessions’ etc for girls, and then they can come across to the matches. It can be a great experience – which is what we’re looking at for the girls.”

“One of our games is on the same day as the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics so we’re doing a Brazilian theme – there’s going to be a carnival outside, and inflatables – as well as the cricket experiences.. I’ve been involved in some of the planning meetings and what I’m hearing is very exciting.”

“I guess the biggest message is, that [compared with] what people have experienced before when coming to watch cricket games at Loughborough, it will be completely different.”

Loughborough Lightning’s aim, in the words of Briggs, is “to be the leading Kia super League host”. If her own sense of purpose and vision can translate into results on and off the pitch, it’s hard to see them failing.

NEWS: Southern Stars Updated Pregnancy Policy

The pay rises for Australian women cricketers, announced yesterday, have been quite rightly much-lauded: top players will now be able to earn in excess of $100,000, with CA overall increasing its female player payment pool from $2.36 million to $4.23 million, with maximum retainers for the Southern Stars rising from $49,000 to $65,000.

However, many of the articles on this subject also mentioned that an updated “pregnancy policy” was now in place, but failed to elaborate on this. So what are the details?

CRICKETher talked with a Cricket Australia spokesperson, who confirmed that the new policy is as follows:

“If a pregnant player advises her team (WBBL, WNCL or Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars) that she does not wish to continue playing cricket in accordance with her Player Contract due to her pregnancy, the player may elect to:

1. Terminate her Player Contract by mutual agreement, or

2. Amend her Player Contract by mutual agreement to suspend the Player’s obligations to render skilled services as a cricket player during the Term until the earlier of:

a) Expiry of the term, or

b) Date from which the player notifies her WBBL team she wishes to continue playing cricket.”

CA also confirmed that it is entirely down to the player herself whether she continues to play while pregnant. As CA puts it, “The overriding objective is to make sure no player feels disadvantaged due to pregnancy.”

While the pay rises in themselves are clearly important, it’s great to know that CA are also working with players to be as accommodating as possible in other areas, too.

NEWS: Surrey Defend Social Media Strategy

Surrey CCC have defended their social media strategy, following criticism yesterday that they appeared to have ignored the Kia Super League player announcements.

Surrey came under fire for their decision not to host a dedicated Twitter feed for Surrey Stars, and then for not Tweeting about the announcements during the morning, when there was a significant social media push from all the other teams.

However, Surrey’s Communications Manager Jon Surtees spoke to CRICKETher last night, assuring us:

“None of your concerns will be borne out over time. Indeed I hope we will be seen to be leading the way with promotion of the competition and our team.”

On the issue of the “joint” Twitter account, Surtees points to the other side of the coin: that it means they are able to leverage an existing social media presence with over a quarter of million subscribers across the various platforms – Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.. Indeed, a quick check on Twitter bears this out: the @SurreyCricket account has 46,000 followers… the other five “dedicated” KSL accounts have just over 3,000 between them!

And on the decision to hold off on social media promotion during the day, Surtees told us:

“Our Twitter and Facebook accounts have been ‘taken over’ with Stars branding and advertisements this evening – the time when our stats tell us our social media is most effective.”

Finally, Surtees promised that the women’s county team (which of course, is not the same thing as the KSL team, featuring mostly an entirely different set of players) would also benefit from an improved marketing presence this year.

With both the Stars and the “county” team scheduled to play games at The Kia Oval this season it will be interesting to see how this translates into “bums on seats”, and we certainly wouldn’t bet against them being among the best-attended matches of the summer.

NEWS: Cheatle Handed Stars Contract; Kimmince Dropped Despite Healthy WBBL Numbers

Seventeen-year-old Lauren Cheatle is the only addition to the Southern Stars contracted squad for 2016-17 announced by Cricket Australia today.

Cheatle had a breakthrough season in WBBL, taking 18 wickets for Sydney Thunder and was named the young player of the tournament. She was rewarded with a Southern Stars call-up, making her debut against India in January. At the Women’s World T20, she made 3 appearances in the group stages, with best figures of 2-13 against South Africa.

Three players have dropped out of the Stars squad – 32-year-old veteran Julie Hunter; Jess Cameron, who appears to have set her sights on Aussie Rules, having taken an “extended break” from cricket; and perhaps most surprisingly Delissa Kimmince, who took 17 wickets in WBBL, putting her joint-8th on the list alongside Marizanne Kapp and Heather Knight, but who it seems has paid the price for her ill luck in missing last summer’s Women’s Ashes due to injury.

Full Squad:

  • Kristen Beams
  • Alex Blackwell
  • Nicole Bolton
  • Lauren Cheatle
  • Sarah Coyte
  • Rene Farrell
  • Holly Ferling
  • Grace Harris
  • Alyssa Healy
  • Jess Jonassen
  • Meg Lanning
  • Beth Mooney
  • Erin Osborne
  • Ellyse Perry
  • Megan Schutt
  • Elyse Villani

LIVE: Kia Super League – England Player Announcements

Follow this page for updates on today’s announcements!

20:00 – The Surrey Stars are now front and center of Surrey’s Twitter profile; and tickets are on sale at kiaoval.com.

12.25 – Interesting to see that at least some KSL teams are charging for match tickets (given that most standalone WBBL games were free entry). Loughborough Lightning tickets are £8 for adults, £1 for U16s; Southern Vipers tickets are £5 for adults and £1 for U17s; and Lancashire Thunder are charging £5 for adults and £1 for U18s.

11:30 – Every team has posted on Twitter this morning with their exciting breaking news, except… go on… guess which one?

10:20 – All 4 Loughborough Lightning players are current or former students at the university.

10:00 – Lots of fans pledging their allegiance today based on their favourite players rather than the location of the team – ECB need to bear this in mind – it is the players that build the emotional connections for the fans – the shirt just re-enforces that.

9:55 – Interesting questions about what happens in next / subsequent years. Retirements (of which we expect at least 3 after 2017) could substantially impact the balance of the KSL- e.g. one team in particular likely to lose two of their 3 England players to retirement after the 2017 World Cup.

9:40 – Tickets for Lancashire Thunder at eticketing.co.uk/lccc/Events – click KSL checkbox on the left!

9:35 – Tickets for Southern Vipers at eticketing.co.uk/ageasbowl

9:30 – Tickets for Loughborough Lightning available online at loughboroughsport.com.

9:12 – Still waiting for an announcement about Surrey Stars on the official @surreycricket Twitter account – we have been holding our breath for 42 minutes now… and we’re getting a bit blue!

9:10 – Western Storm having Knight and Shrubsole is a surprise, though they both have local geographical roots in the south west – but is it “balanced” to have the best T20 bowler in the world and the England vice-captain on the same team?

9:05 – As far as we can see, Loughborough Lightning have not announced a captain. If we were reading too much into this, we might be thinking that this is a further indication that they expect to announce a huge overseas star… and they don’t come huger than Ellyse Perry 😉

9:02 – Captains – Sarah Taylor, Charlotte Edwards, Nat Sciver, Heather Knight, Lauren Winfield.

8:47 – At least as far as the England players go, Southern Vipers are Kent all the way. But expect to see some Berkshire names in later announcements…!

8:46 – Have Loughborough Lightning drawn the short straw? They are the only side with no “marquee” England player… but could their consolation prize be Ellyse Perry, who will be living nearby when she moves to England with her husband this summer?

8:45 – Why no Surrey Stars Twitter account? Apparently they see the Stars and the Surrey men’s side as one club with one Twitter account – a Twitter account that so far doesn’t seem terribly interested in KSL – no mention of today’s announcements yet.

8:40 – Yorkshire Diamonds look a very strong side – based on the Yorkshire team which won last season’s County Championship, with added Jenny Gunn!

Lancashire Thunder

  • Kate Cross
  • Danni Wyatt
  • Sarah Taylor

Loughborough Lightning

  • Becky Grundy
  • Georgia Elwiss
  • Amy Jones
  • Beth Langston

Southern Vipers

  • Charlotte Edwards
  • Tash Farrant
  • Lydia Greenway

Surrey Stars

  • Nat Sciver
  • Laura Marsh
  • Tammy Beaumont

Western Storm

  • Heather Knight
  • Anya Shrubsole
  • Fran Wilson

Yorkshire Diamonds

  • Lauren Winfield
  • Katherine Brunt
  • Dani Hazell
  • Jenny Gunn

8:27 – Follow the teams on Twitter with our Totally Unofficial List!

8:25 – Did the players chose who they wanted to play for? The players were consulted, but ultimately the decisions were made by the ECB in the interests of creating a balanced competition.

8:24 – Do the players know yet? Yes – they have know for several weeks; but they have been asked to keep it quiet!

8:23 – What about the other players? The overseas (international) and England “Academy” players are expected to be announced at a later date.

8:20 – What’s being announced today? Which England contracted players are playing for which teams – each of the six teams are expected to announce 3 (in some cases 4) England contracted players.

8:15 – Welcome to our Live Blog of the KSL England player announcements – we are expecting the news to start coming in at around 8:30am. We’ll start things off with some FAQs…

 

West Indies Women’s Win: 50 Years In The Making

The phrase “making history” is bandied about far too easily in cricket circles these days. But sometimes there are moments – spine-tingling moments – when you realise that what you are watching is not just another run-of-the-mill game of Twenty20 cricket, but a match that truly will go down in history.

There’s not much doubt that Stafanie Taylor’s side made some very special history today.

———

The first women’s cricket association in the Caribbean was established in 1966, in Jamaica. By 1970, women’s associations existed in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent, Guyana and St Lucia. In 1970, an England XI toured Jamaica and a year later Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago competed in a triangular tournament, hosted by T&T, against an England side captained by Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.

Teams from Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica participated in the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1973. Neither of the Caribbean teams got anywhere near the final – which was won by England – but, given that this was the first official international cricket they had ever played, they performed impressively. Both teams beat a Young England side featuring Sue Goatman and Megan Lear, future stars of the England squad, and Jamaica came within touching distance of beating an International XI made up of players from all the competing countries.

The Caribbean Women’s Cricket Federation (CWCF) was founded in late 1973, with the aim of developing a West Indies team to compete on the international stage. They were successful…and so were West Indies. In 1976 they drew both of the Tests in their two-Test series against the second-best team in the world, Australia. Later that year India hosted West Indies in a six-Test series; the two teams won one Test each. In summer 1979 West Indies toured England for the first time, and though they lost the Test series, they somehow beat the inaugural World Champions in the third ODI.

That victory wasn’t in the script, either.

———

The men’s West Indies team dominated world cricket in the 1980s. Even the memory of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Michael Holding will be enough to strike fear into the hearts of many English cricket lovers.

West Indies Women couldn’t even afford to go on one international tour in the 1980s.

The CWCF was an organisation entirely staffed by volunteers. And the West Indies Cricket Board of Control, as it was then, refused to meet with the CWCF to discuss advancing the women’s game. Men’s cricket officials were annoyed at their continual requests for the use of first-class grounds.

Without any financial support, the CWCF could not afford either to host international sides or to send their teams abroad. After their 1979 tour of England, West Indies did not play in another bilateral international tour until 2003, against Sri Lanka.

Australia won the 1978, 1982 and 1988 women’s World Cups. West Indies could not even afford to enter a side.

———

The impossibly young, impossibly mature cricketer Hayley Matthews was born in March 1998. A few months before this, in December 1997, West Indies had participated in the 1997 World Cup in India.

It wasn’t their finest hour. Sri Lanka – whose women’s team had been in existence for less than 12 months – beat the Windies in their group match by six wickets. West Indies failed to even qualify for the 2000 tournament. It was humiliating.

Australia, meanwhile, trampled all opposition before them, and won the tournament – their fourth World Cup title.

———

Things improved for West Indies. Gradually. In 2005 the ICC took over control of women’s cricket, and the West Indies Cricket Board was suddenly forced to take responsibility for the sport. At last, some money started to flow into the women’s game. In 2010, the WICB introduced central contracts for their female players for the first time.

West Indies Women slowly, very slowly, started to overturn their status as the very minnowest of minnows. In 2009, the year after today’s heroine Stafanie Taylor made her debut, they finally won an ODI series against England. In 2012, they beat India in the same format.

Most of all, though, they embraced the newest format of the game with open arms. The first ever Twenty20 international was a women’s game, between England and New Zealand at Hove in 2004. Who was the first ever centurion in women’s Twenty20 cricket? Deandra Dottin.

It took her 38 balls. Not bad for a sport that’s supposed to lack power.

West Indies went on to make the semi-finals of the 2010 and 2012 WWT20s, achieving two huge upsets in the process: beating England by two runs in 2010, and New Zealand by seven wickets in 2012.

They lost in the semi-finals both times – to New Zealand in 2010, and in 2012 to – who else? – eventual tournament winners Australia. That time around, they were only chasing 116 – and they didn’t even get close.

———

At long last, in 2013, they reached the final of a global tournament. To get there, they beat both New Zealand and Australia for the first time ever in 50-over cricket. Taylor hit 314 runs across the tournament – more than anyone else bar Suzie Bates.

But even she could not withstand a one-legged Ellyse Perry in the final. Perry had her caught and bowled in the 12th over, took 3-19, and Australia beat West Indies by 114 runs. Frankly, they looked out of their depth.

———

It’s been a mixed few years since that 2013 final. There hasn’t been the inexorable rise we might have hoped would follow. 12 months later West Indies were whitewashed by New Zealand in both the 50 and 20-over formats; six months after that, their old nemesis Australia repeated the feat. They haven’t exactly set the world on fire.

But opportunities, nonetheless, have been seized. In all the glitter and glitz surrounding the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League, the participation of players from the West Indies has perhaps been the least lauded aspect. Yet Taylor, Dottin and middle-order batsman Stacy-Ann King all received invitations to participate.

As did a then little-known 17-year-old called Hayley Matthews.

———

We ran a poll just before the semi-finals of this tournament: Who will win the Women’s World Twenty20? England secured 44% of the vote; New Zealand, also, 44%; Australia got 13%. West Indies got 0%.

Sometimes making history is about defying expectations.

———

Many have tried and failed to overthrow the dominance of the green and gold. England in 2014 and 2012. New Zealand in 2010. India in 2005. None of them could do it.

The Windies did.

The Windies, who cried when they lost to England because they thought they were going home without even getting out of the group stages. The Windies, who nobody ever thought had a hope in hell of beating the Kiwis in that semi-final.

The Windies, who today broke through and finally became the only nation outside of Australia, New Zealand and England ever to win a world title.

Whatever happens from here…it will always have been the Windies.