England fly home from their tour of India and Sri Lanka with a certain spring in their step. Despite losing the first two ODIs of the tour, they bounced back to win every one of the following 10 matches, and now sit a fairly comfortable 2nd in the ICC Women’s Championship, on course for direct qualification for the World Cup in New Zealand in 2021.
Those first two games aside, the batsmen have stood up and been counted, especially in Sri Lanka, where perhaps the only negative has been that the players further down the order like Fran Wilson and Sophia Dunkley haven’t had a look-in, due to the form of Amy Jones, Danni Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver. Wilson played 3 matches in Sri Lanka, and faced 3 balls; Dunkley played 3 and didn’t bat at all, though she did get a bowl at least.
Amy Jones comes out on top of our batting rankings, just, after having been promoted to open in the T20s as well as the ODIs, with Tammy Beaumont dropping down the order in the T20s to make way. Jones is clearly relishing the responsibility of opening and keeping, and Sarah Taylor, who scored just 13 runs in 3 innings in the India ODIs, might just need to start looking over her shoulder this summer!
Danni Wyatt, at No. 2 in the rankings, had another good sub-continental tour, hitting nearly 350 runs at a Strike Rate of over 100, which won’t have done her case for a potentially lucrative spot in the Women’s IPL any harm. Tammy Beaumont, ranked third, played more of an accumulating role – striking at only 86, but notching-up over 400 runs in total on the trip.
Rounding out the top 5, Nat Sciver and Heather Knight both made vital contributions. Sciver’s tour was a bit up and down – a big 85 in the 2nd India ODI was followed by a disappointing T20 series (4, 1 and 0), but she made amends with 93 off 73 balls in the 1st Sri Lanka ODI and 49* in the last T20 in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Knight’s haul of 225 runs looks thin on paper, but was again slightly reflective of lack of opportunity – she was another one who didn’t bat at all in the Sri Lanka T20s.
It certainly doesn’t look like there are too many questions about who England’s top order will be for the Women’s Ashes this summer, though where Sarah Taylor fits in is certainly one that Mark Robinson might be scratching his floppy hat over!
The only real worry is more long-term – with all of England’s top batsmen having made their debuts in 2013 or earlier, where is the next generation coming from? It is a problem… but perhaps also an opportunity for some young batsman to stand up in this year’s County Championship and say “Over Here”!
|1. Amy Jones||11||368||119.09|
|2. Danni Wyatt||11||343||109.58|
|3. Tammy Beaumont||12||407||86.05|
|4. Nat Sciver||12||304||92.97|
|5. Heather Knight||12||225||80.65|
|6. Lauren Winfield||11||138||83.64|
|7. Georgia Elwiss||3||39||60.94|
|8. Fran Wilson||3||8||266.67|
|9. Katherine Brunt||7||31||63.27|
|10. Sophia Dunkley||5||14||77.78|
Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate
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Very professional performances in SL by England. We might have expected a bad game or two, but the gulf in class was so big that England didn’t need to be in top gear all the time.
England haven’t any new batters really come though for a while, and I’ll say again I don’t think what they’ve done with the Senior Academy helped that. Bryony Smith was supposedly the next one who was going to make it but she’ll need to have a good summer for that to still look likely to happen. “Poaching” players from other countries might be more successful in the short term. The men’s team have certainly done enough of it with the Kolpak deals and residency rules.
The improvement Amy Jones has showed in the last couple of years has, to be fair, been like England finding a new batter. She’s now probably our fastest scorer and she can go big (ish!) as well. During the Ashes they’ll all be severely tested though, so we’ll get an idea of just how desperately England will need to find new batting talent. I’ve said for a while some left-handers are a must. It’s a big advantage to opposition bowlers to be able to line us up easily.