NEWS: 2020 Twenty20 To Be Standalone

Cricket Australia has released more information on the reasons behind their decision to host the 2020 Women’s World Twenty20 separately from the men’s competition, as approved by the ICC yesterday.

The tournament was originally intended to be a double-header competition with the men’s and women’s matches played across the same period, as has been the case in previous competitions.

However, the success of the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League – which featured record crowds and peak viewing figures of over 400,000 – convinced Cricket Australia that a standalone women’s tournament was the right way forward.

The women’s tournament will now take place in February and March of 2020, with the men’s version to follow in October/November.

CA Chairman David Peever said:

“Having the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 as a stand-alone event means we can hold it in stadiums that we can fill, put on TV at prime-time and ensure it has the space to be promoted as the main event, away from the shadow of the men’s game.”

 “WBBL has taught us that there is an audience for women’s cricket both live and on prime-time television and this decision means we have the opportunity to hold the biggest women’s sporting event ever held in Australia.”

The decision comes on the back of the last joint World Twenty20 in India, which was widely regarded as disappointing for the women’s game, with many of the matches played out to empty stadiums.

Random Thoughts: West Indies v England 3rd ODI

England’s Batting

  • It was a battling batting performance from Lauren Winfield (79) and Nat Sciver (58) which set England up for the win – it wasn’t easy out there, but they fought hard for their runs and England reaped the reward.
  • Having said that… from where England were at the 40-over mark, they should really have been looking at a score closer to 240. But once again they lost their last few wickets rapidly – going from 208-6 to 220 all out. While this wasn’t a disaster, it does reinforce our point from the other day that the fragility of England’s tail is being exposed for the first time under the Nouveau Régime.

West Indies’ Fielding

  • Dire!
  • (Enough said!)

England’s Bowling

  • It was confirmed today that Anya Shrubsole will be out for the rest of the tour. Are England missing her? Yes. There’s a reason why Nat Sciver (despite being originally selected by England as a bowler back in 2013) is these days a batsman-who-bowls rather than a bowler-who-bats – she looks a bit out of her depth opening the bowling at this level and England will be really hoping Beth Langston will be fit for the remaining ODIs.
  • Someone else England have been missing is Jenny Gunn. Just when her critics write her off… back she bounces, showing you exactly why she’s England’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs, finishing here with 2 wickets for just 8 runs off only 5 overs.

England’s Fielding

  • England were very professional in the field – the run out of Merissa Aguilleira by Danni Wyatt was a case in point – get to the ball… get it in… and you never know! Aguilleira was thinking about a second run, assuming she had plenty of time to change her mind, but Wyatt pushed and Aguilleira found herself well out of her ground when the throw whizzed in.

The Live-Stream

  • Awesome!
  • (Enough said!)

OPINION: Has County Qualification Outlived Its Usefulness?

Guest writer Simon Pearson wades into the KSL-county cricket debate.

There has been much discussion recently about the future of the County Championship in the light of the KSL launch and its now-postponed extension into a 50 over format. Perhaps we should now be looking at how the County Championship needs to adapt in order to meet the demands of this new era in women’s cricket.

If the purpose of the County Championship is to act a training ground for the best and as a feeder to Team England (now maybe via the KSL) then, I would suggest, it is no longer fit for purpose.

The current County Championship regulations state that a player is eligible to play for a county if:

a) She was born within that County

b) She currently resides in that County and has been resident there for 6 months.

c) She is attending an educational establishment within that County.

Is a system which dictates that the level at which you play is decided by where you were born or live appropriate for the modern game and increasing professionalism? (Having said this, England players seem to be allowed to move about at will, which rather defeats the point of having qualification at all.)

Currently you could have good, but not quite good enough, players at a top County who can’t get a game; and poor players at a lower team who play every game, there being no-one else. On the other hand a really promising player at a lesser County does not get the chance to test themselves against comparable players, or get the support and assistance they need to reach their potential.

As I see it, abolishing qualification would allow players to find their own level and the best would rise to the top.

Some will say that the top sides will pinch the lower one’s best; but this already happens in the men’s game and few seem to object. There will also be movement in the opposite direction for those who can’t make it into the top teams. The effect would be to raise the overall standard which is surely desirable.

One additional effect would be that there would then be no need for a 50-over KSL. This seems to be an advantage: as many have said, it is difficult to see how there is room in the schedule for both the County Championship and an extension of KSL.

It seems to me, therefore, that there is no justification for continuing with County qualification, at least at senior level.

CLUB OF THE MONTH: Ansty Ladies CC

Here at CRICKETher, we’re passionate about women’s cricket at all levels, including club cricket. It’s our mission to offer coverage of women’s (and girls’) club cricket wherever we can! Our ‘Club of the Month’ feature will focus on one women’s or girls’ club every month (or so!), giving you the lowdown on their highs, lows, and everything in between.

If you’d like to see your club featured here, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Ansty Ladies play their cricket at Ansty Cricket Club – a small village club situated on the outskirts of Haywards Heath in West Sussex. A girls section was formed by Tina Towler in 2008, before Dave Burt began the ladies section in the winter of 2011.

Dave decided to start a ladies team at Ansty in order to provide a pathway into women’s cricket, and to stop the club’s talented young ladies from moving on to “bigger and better” clubs. He still coaches the Ladies 1st XI – assisted by Shaun Janman on match days.

Ansty runs a girls section alongside the ladies section with teams at U11, U13 and U15 age groups. Ellen “Burtie” Burt and Isabella Nixon coach the U15s, with Sofie Cawley coaching the U13 and U11 sides. The club’s youngest member is Hope who is only 7 years old (the oldest member is Julia ‘the Jarvinator’ Jarvis who is rumoured to be 60+ – her real age is unknown!)

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The club facilities are good, with a second square added two years ago, meaning pitch availability is good throughout the summer. The Ladies 1st XI get pitch priority for their league matches on Sundays. The clubhouse, according to Dave, “has a lot of character”! The club has plans in place to start building work at the end of the 2017 season on a new clubhouse.

Ansty play in the Women’s Cricket Southern League (WCSL) and in the past four seasons have won their division each time. Most recently in 2016 they won the Championship and gained club promotion to the Premiership. Across the season they gained an impressive 100% record away from home, which Dave says was “built on the back of a huge Toby Carvery breakfast”!

The men’s team also gained promotion to their respective premier league and both promotions were celebrated at the the club’s presentation evening with a night out in Brighton for the senior members.

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Many of the players at the club currently play/have played age group cricket for Sussex, including Ellen Burt (Sussex Ladies, Sussex Academy, England Academy and the Southern Vipers), Abbey Freeborn (Sussex Ladies, England Women’s Development Programme), Megan Janman (Warwickshire Ladies) and Bryony Smith (Surrey Ladies, Surrey Stars, England Academy).

Ansty also provide social cricket for their members in the form of playing in the Sussex T20 Development League. Playing in this league allows the club to develop players who are new to cricket alongside those girls who are playing senior cricket for the first time. In the development team, winning is not important: the goal is to provide an environment where all calibre of players can play. Despite this ethos, the club has won this competition three of the last four seasons, with the 2016 trophy shared as rain intervened!

Many of Ansty’s ladies also play additional cricket in the men’s Saturday sides, and 2016 saw the ladies section enter a team in the annual Ansty sixes completion. Dave cites one of their proudest moments as the time in summer 2015 “where poor availability for the men’s side saw us put out 11 ladies players in the men’s 3rd XI in the Stoner mid-Sussex league. Our hosts (Streat and Westmeston) for the match received the team with a positive response and the match was played in good spirit to finally end in a draw.”

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Special shout-outs go to umpire Phil, Jane the scorer, the parents who drive the girls as far as Wokingham/Bishop Stortford on their days off, Dan “media manager” Burt and Fletch the groundsman.

Ansty have recently released a promotional video to attract players to the club which can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/anstyladiescc/videos

For more information about the club, you can contact Dave Burt – mobile: 07802 462384; email: daveburt@anstyladiescc.co.uk or check out their website, http://www.anstyladiescc.co.uk

Random Thoughts: West Indies v England 2nd ODI

England’s Batting

  • It’s not often that you win an ODI without one of your players making 50; England would have been very lucky to have pulled it off twice in the course of three days. Today, four of their batsmen – Beaumont, Elwiss, Knight and Sciver – all got starts but failed to push on. Ultimately that’s where the game was lost.
  • England’s mammoth collapse from 93-3 to 110 all out exposes the fact that they have a bit (a lot?) more of a tail than they had a year ago. It doesn’t help that this team’s success over the summer against Pakistan was built around the strength of their top-order batting, with everyone below that barely getting a look in. Inexperience can find you out in high-pressure situations.

The Pitch

  • Today’s was another low-scoring game, on what looked like another poor pitch. Robbo described it on TMS as “good attritional cricket” – we agree with the last two words, but aren’t quite so sure about the first! What’s baffling is that West Indies are a side of big hitters – surely they can’t be any happier with these pitches than England? Perhaps the WICB needs to step in? In any case, let’s hope for better wickets at Sabina Park.

England’s Fielding

  • A couple of chances went begging today – including Marsh putting Dottin down on 6 (she went on to make 21). You might get away with that against some teams, but when playing a side like West Indies, England really need to rediscover their ruthless streak.

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life… 

  • England might have lost today but – at the risk of sounding like a player in a post-match press conference – there are definitely some positives to take away. Alex Hartley already has 7 wickets this series and just missed out on a five-fer today. Over the summer it was Sophie Ecclestone who looked more of a natural in an England shirt; Hartley was at risk of playing second-fiddle left-armer this series, but she’s responded to that pressure brilliantly.
  • Amy Jones also deserves a mention. This is the first overseas tour in her career that she’s been the first choice keeper from the get-go, and it seems to have done wonders for her confidence. Today she spent a significant proportion of Katherine Brunt’s overs standing right up to the stumps a la Sarah Taylor – and pulled off a great stumping of Stacy-Ann King as a result.

Random Thoughts: West Indies v England 1st ODI

Selection

England went in with 7 batsmen, including Amy Jones – who got her first opportunity out in the middle in an ODI since South Africa last winter – and only 4 bowlers. They can get away with this because they know that between Nat Sciver, Heather Knight and Georgia Elwiss, they have plenty of options for the other 10 overs they need to find.

But where England are gambling a little bit though is in picking both Elwiss and Danni Wyatt – not because this doesn’t work on a game-by-game basis, but because if this is the strategy, it means that they don’t have any backup batsmen on this tour – if the plan is to play 7 batsmen, and someone gets injured, there is no cover and you’re bust! Fingers crossed then! (Especially as the really crucial “Championship” matches are at the end of the tour!)

Batting

Given that the pitch was clearly made of plasticine… and not new plasticine either, but plasticine that has been in the playbox for a year so all the colors have gotten mixed-up into a hazy shade of purply-brown… batting was never going to be easy. It was interesting that the one player that mastered it was Danni “Bish Bash Bosh” Wyatt, who neither bished, nor bashed, nor boshed; but played relatively patiently, hitting just one boundary in her 44. It goes without saying that if she had not knuckled-down as she did, England would not have won this game, and Wyatt was deservedly Man of the Match.

Bowling

It was definitely a “team performance” with the ball – 2 wickets each for Ecclestone and Marsh; and 3 each for Brunt and Hartley.

This was actually a huge game for Alex Hartley – she is six years older than Ecclestone (23 to 17) and had a couple of wobbles over the summer – the pressure was really on to show she could mix it with the big girls out there – and she did – the wicket of Taylor was obviously huge, but to stay focussed and pick up another next ball was just fantastic.

As for Brunt, Heather Knight really threw the dice bringing her back when she did – pace back on the ball could have been just what the doctor ordered for the West Indies, and even if she hadn’t gone for runs, she would have been bowled out with still LOTS of time for the Windies to nurdle their way to victory, which was all they needed to do. But the gamble paid off with the final two wickets; and for the second time in a day, after New Zealand v South Africa earlier, a team had successfully defended a tiny total with the main damage we suspect being to the coach’s fingernails!!

Stream If You Wanna Go Faster

Okay, so the stream was only one (fixed) camera, and the quality was so poor that it was often difficult to see the ball. A second (non-fixed) camera, as Ireland used in the summer, would have made a big difference; but this means having to pay two more people – a cameraman and a producer to flick between them – and here’s the thing: it was still sooooo much better than no stream at all, and together with the TMS commentary, it sure beats refreshing a scorecard on Cricinfo!

There is a lesson for the ECB to learn here – you sometimes get the impression that in terms of coverage it is all or nothing for them – if they can’t afford seventeen cameras, and a production booth the size of a battleship, they would rather not do it. And it is true that a stream like that probably won’t win any new fans; but for the fans you have it is a life-saver in terms of cementing their engagement!

NEWS: This Week In Brief

Hurricanes In The West Indies

  • England breathed a sigh of relief at their training camp in the West Indies, as the tropical storm dubbed “Hurricane Matthew”, which caused death and destruction elsewhere in the Caribbean, largely passed Jamaica by. The players spent a bit of time on “lock down” at their hotel; but damage locally was fortunately minimal, and the grounds have been inspected by the WICB and passed fit for play… unlike England’s Anya Shrubsole, who is ruled-out of the first 2 ODIs with a side-strain.
  • Now the only Hurricane Matthew England have to worry about now is Hobart Hurricane Hayley Matthew(s), who is set to take on her WBBL skipper, Heather Knight, today at Trelawny Stadium, with business getting underway this afternoon at 3:30pm UK time in the 5-match ODI series – look out for a live stream and commentary on TMS.

Hotting Up Down Under

  • As dawn breaks on another antipodean summer, the Australians continue to push towards full professionalisation of their domestic game, with the announcement that the New South Wales Breakers, who compete in the 50-over WNCL, have secured a new deal from their sponsor – property conglomerate Lendlease – which will allow them to go fully professional, with all 14 squad players set to take home at least the national minimum wage of $35,000. (And a lot more for those who play WBBL and international cricket on top.)
  • Meanwhile in the T20 WBBL, last year’s “Wooden Spoon” winners the Melbourne Renegades have strengthened their squad with the addition of Australian international, and professional novelty sock-wearer, Grace Harris. Harris represented the Brisbane Heat last season, and is the only player in the WBBL’s brief history to have scored a century – clubbing 103 off 55 balls against the Sydney Sixers.

New Zealand Face New South Africa

  • New Zealand looked in ominous form as they smashed an “Emerging” South African XI in their warm-up prior to the 7-match ODI series, which also begins today.
  • There was some bad news for the White Ferns however, as spinner Leigh Kasperek was ruled out for two months with a broken finger – she’ll miss this tour and the up-coming series v Pakistan.
  • Meanwhile South Africa have named their squad for new captain Dane van Niekerk’s first series at the helm, including teenage batting prodigy Laura Wolvaardt, who made her debut against England less than a year ago, progressing to her first international century back in August against Ireland. Wolvaardt is now looking set to be a fixture of the team for years to come; but we also hear that she might soon be spending a lot of time in hospital… a teaching hospital that is, as she concurrently pursues her ambition to qualify as a doctor when she graduates from high school!

NEWS: Anya Shrubsole Injured – Will Miss 1st & 2nd ODIs

Anya Shrubsole has been ruled-out of the first two ODIs in England’s 5-match series versus West Indies. The fast bowler sustained a side-strain during yesterday’s warm-up match against Jamaica.

The news presents something of a problem for England because their back-up quick, Beth Langston, is also out of the first couple of matches, as she completes recovery from a broken finger; so it seems likely England will be taking an extra spinner onto the park tomorrow, though of course they do have all-rounders Nat Sciver and Georgia Elwiss to offer some additional seam options for captain Heather Knight.

The 1st ODI starts tomorrow (Saturday) at 3:30pm UK time.

NEWS: ECB Back Down On KSL-50

The ECB have announced that a 50-over Kia Super League, which was expected to take place next summer alongside the T20 competition, will NOT now go ahead in 2017.

The ECB statement we have received states that:

“As we start to map out the 2017 schedule ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup, we also firmly believe that we must factor in sufficient time for the women’s county 50-over competition and for club cricket.”

The decision has been reached as part of the ongoing review of the inaugural T20 competition, in which the ECB is talking to the six hosts as well as players and partners.

CRICKETher understands that there had been some significant disquiet amongst the counties, who feared that a 50-over Super League would leave the Women’s County Championship unviable due to limited player availability and scheduling constraints.

The 2017 season already looks to be congested, with the World Cup due to take place in July, and it was unclear how a 50-over KSL competition could be fitted in around existing domestic commitments. One proposal, to hold a 50-over KSL in May, would have led to severe shortage of players, given that many have work / educational commitments during that period.

It is as yet unclear whether a 50-over KSL will go ahead in 2018.

OPINION: England Face West Indies

England arrive in the Caribbean this weekend for a 5-match ODI series against the West Indies, beginning on October 8th at Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica.

The last 3 games are the “Championship” matches – the ones which count towards qualification for next summer’s World Cup – and if England win all 3, they will seal qualification for 2017*, regardless of how things go in their final matches versus Sri Lanka, who look like a walking 6 points right now, having just been ground to mincemeat by Australia.

England have a squad of 15, and looking at a possible starting XI, most of the options would appear to be amongst the bowlers:

  1. Winfield
  2. Beaumont
  3. Elwiss/ Wyatt
  4. Sciver
  5. Knight
  6. Jones
  7. Brunt
  8. Shrubsole
  9. Marsh/ Hazell
  10. Gunn/ Langston
  11. Hartley/ Ecclestone

At the top of the order, Winfield and Beaumont are the first on the team-sheet after their golden summer; but both still have something to prove – making runs against Pakistan at home is one thing, but they still need to show they can do it against the top teams in less friendly conditions; and if they fail, the same old questions will be back again, make no mistake.

Elwiss came in at first-drop in all the Pakistan ODIs this summer, so you’d imagine she will do the same in the first ODI here; but coach Mark Robinson might then use the 2nd ODI to give Wyatt an opportunity higher up the order, especially after having seen her make a patient century on the last day of the County Championship season for Sussex against Surrey.

With Knight having decided that she feels more comfortable generally coming in a bit further down, Nat Sciver will be up next – she was obviously explosive against Pakistan, and she had a good Super League too; but having treated even the ODIs this summer as T20-style “boshes”, she needs to show she can change her game up a bit when required in the ODI format against tougher opponents.

Moving into the bowling, barring injury, both Brunt and Shrubsole are of course automatic selections; and England will be really hoping that injuries don’t rear-up early on, because Beth Langston won’t be available until the “second half” of the tour, as she completes her rehabilitation from a broken finger.

Finally turning to the spinners, under Mark Robinson it looks like England want to try to take the field with a left-right-arm combination available, so the lefties – Alex Hartley and Sophie Ecclestone – will probably interchange throughout the series, unless one of them does something spectacular (either spectacularly good or to be fair, spectacularly bad) to change that.

The right-armers present more of a dilemma perhaps – Robinson has clearly become an effusive fan of Laura Marsh, since her surprise recall flying into the World T20 after Dani Hazell got injured; and Marsh played all the ODIs against Pakistan at Hazell’s expense, with Hazell only coming back for the T20s. But there are no T20s here, and Robinson will be reluctant to leave Hazell totally out in the cold, not least because he’ll need her if injury-prone Marsh has any recurrence of her on-going shoulder problems.

One thing is certain – the West Indies won’t roll-over like Pakistan did. These will be tough, hard-fought matches against the World T20 Champions, who currently sit in 2nd place in the Women’s International Championship – just above England in 3rd. England could play really well and still lose the series and a final 2-3 scoreline would be no surprise.

The only scenario England have to be very careful of is losing all 3 Championship matches, which would mean they really couldn’t afford to slip-up against Sri Lanka – the pressure would be on then; but that is a bridge they’d have to cross if and when they came to it.

In the meantime, our job as fans is to sit back and hopefully enjoy some fantastic cricket, and with live-streams promised by the West Indies Cricket Board of all 5 games, we are looking forward to doing just that!

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* The table isn’t as close as it looks because West Indies and India, and South Africa and New Zealand, have yet to play each other, so one of each have to drop points and won’t therefore be able to catch England.