NEWS: Dunkley, Gordon & Linsey Smith In For England

KSL break-outs Sophia Dunkley, Kirstie Gordon and Linsey Smith have been called up to the England squad for the Women’s World T20 in the West Indies next month. All are selected on form but the inclusion of three debutantes in the 15-player squad is nevertheless a massive surprise for a major tournament, and a departure from England’s usual policy of safety first, with big names and World Cup winners axed to make way for the new faces.

Middle-order batsman Sophia Dunkley won the County T20 Cup this season with Middlesex, after having had an outstanding winter with the England Academy; and then followed that up by impressing in the opening round of the Kia Super League for Surrey Stars – scoring 66 off 43 balls versus the Vipers at Guildford.

Kirstie Gordon – a left-arm orthodox spinner – is a former Scotland player from Aberdeenshire, who made the decision 2 years ago to pursue her cricketing career in England when she accepted a place at Loughborough University. She was the leading wicket-taker in both the Women’s County Championship for Notts and the KSL for Loughborough Lightning this year.

Linsey Smith – another left-armer – also had a good KSL season. One of the leading wicket-takers in KSL01 for the Vipers, despite only being drafted in late as an injury replacement, this year Smith transferred to the Lightning, where she took 11 wickets at an Economy Rate of 6.4.

The only other semi-surprise in the squad is Tash Farrant, who has made a swifter recovery than might initially have been expected from the broken collar-bone she sustained fielding in a KSL match at Loughborough this summer – she makes the squad as fast bowling cover for Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole.

Missing out are World Cup winners Alex Hartley, Laura Marsh and Fran Wilson, as well as all three of England’s 2017 debutantes – Alice Davidson-Richards, Katie George and Bryony Smith; plus four others from the contracted squad – Georgia Elwiss, Kate Cross, Freya Davies and Beth Langston.

With Sarah Taylor not travelling to the West Indies, Amy Jones will take the gloves for England, with Tammy Beaumont as backup.

Possible 1st Choice XI

  1. Danni Wyatt
  2. Tammy Beaumont
  3. Amy Jones (wk)
  4. Nat Sciver
  5. Heather Knight
  6. Lauren Winfield
  7. Katherine Brunt
  8. Dani Hazell
  9. Anya Shrubsole
  10. Sophie Ecclestone
  11. Kirstie Gordon

Full Squad

  • Heather Knight
  • Tammy Beaumont
  • Katherine Brunt
  • Sophia Dunkley
  • Sophie Ecclestone
  • Tash Farrant
  • Kirstie Gordon
  • Jenny Gunn
  • Dani Hazell
  • Amy Jones
  • Nat Sciver
  • Linsey Smith
  • Anya Shrubsole
  • Lauren Winfield
  • Danni Wyatt

15 thoughts on “NEWS: Dunkley, Gordon & Linsey Smith In For England

  1. Not surprised about Gordon, an eye-brow slightly raised at Dunkley, but never saw Smith coming at all!

    Three left-arm spinners seems a bit like overkill, but England appear well-covered in all departments as far as bowling is concerned, so some duplication was inevitable and there’s probably no such thing as having too many spinners on Caribbean pitches!

    If there are any missed stumpings, look out for the inevitable “Alas Smith and Jones” headlines!


    • Not sure that the pitches in St Lucia will favour spinners. They have looked quick all season and with little spin.


      • Yes. England will be playing their group matches at the Daren Samy NCS, Gros Islet, home of St. Lucia Stars in the CPL. In 5 CPL matches there this year, there were 4 200+ scores, only 2 sub-100 totals (1 chasing the other) and pace bowlers did get a lot of the wickets (but by no means all).

        I think spin plays a larger part of the women’s game but this does mean my initial assessment needs adjustment. I still fear for the state of the pitches in some of the other matches, in the other group or in knockout stages. But England will be hoping Brunt can play as full a part as possible in the comp.


  2. I like the Gordon inclusion. I have a soft spot for Farrant’s bowling and would, were she fit, have her in the first XI.

    Was Ed Smith selecting, by any chance? 🙂


    • I agree about Farrant (although I have a gut feeling that George may prove the better bet in the longer term). Her ability to swing the ball at a decent pace as a left-arm over gives her a bit of an “X Factor”.

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  3. Couple of surprises in there, especially Smith, I don’t think anyone expect that. Somewhat surprised that Fran Wilson didn’t make it especially after her efforts on finals day.

    I assume Katie George is injured but I like having a left arm seamer to provide a bit of variation.


    • It was always unlikely both Farrant and George would be picked, given their similarity as left-arm quicks. I wonder if the choice came down to Farrant’s collarbone injury being potentially less likely to recur during the tournament than George’s knee problem, thereby making her the lower-risk option in a smallish squad?


  4. There are some big calls from Robinson here. I like the makeup of the squad, and it certainly has its strong points. Plenty of players in it who will be looking to cement their places, and I think lots of spinners will be needed on those slow pitches where the ball probably won’t do much except turn a bit. So that’s all good.

    Not including Marsh, Wilson and Elwiss does seem a bit risky though. Ideally we could do with more off-spin and batting and medium pace backup, and those players have done pretty well at times this year. They’re unlucky to have missed out but they’re probably more suited to the 50 over game and I get the sense Robinson likes his T20 specialists. He isn’t afraid to pick players he thinks has potential, even if they don’t have as much experience.

    My main concern would be that without Taylor or Wilson (or ADR, B. Smith etc) the batting could be a bit light, especially if one or two of the top-order players find themselves short of runs. There are only really 5 specialist batters there, plus Sciver and Brunt, with no established “spare” batting, so we could find that Dunkley is called on sooner than expected.

    With this tournament not likely to be chock-full of 180+ scores though, maybe focusing on bowling is the way to go. We’ll see.

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  5. Good to see the youth coming through! As long as Tash Farrant is fully fit she does warrant a bit of a run as mentioned above. She has undoubtably good skill swinging the ball at reasonable pace. The left arm spin twins could prove to be a good inclusion, especially as Linsey Smith has come through well after a brief spell of the”yips” a while back. Maybe other senior players need to produce consistency in performance to keep their places??


  6. “Dunkley had an outstanding county season” – Not really…
    21st in Div 1 batting stats with 115 runs in 6 innings
    13th in Div1 T20 batting stats with 141 in 6 innings
    She is not there “on form”, but on potential. Risky call.


  7. How does this compare to Wilson who was overlooked for her?
    Dunkley also scored 90 against NZ in a T20 game at Taunton for the Academy and a not out 60 against the same opposition in a 50 over game remember.


  8. Anybody that knows anything about cricket must realise the importance of having at least one or two,preferably 3 left handed bats in the squad.It creates massive problems for bowlers having to bowl to left/right handed bats and getting their lines right.On the bowling side it seems to have gone the other way with 3 left arm spinners and 1 left arm seamer.


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