England v West Indies – Bryony Smith Offered The Candle For England

When Laura Marsh played her hundredth ODI this week at Worcester, and in doing so joined the elite club of 9 players to have passed that mark for England, the much-deserved congratulations were accompanied by hopes that there would be “many more”.

It was the right thing to say at the time, but the truth is that there won’t be many more – Marsh is 32 years old, and though doctors have performed minor miracles on her troublesome shoulder to keep it turning for this long, her career won’t go on for ever, because nobody’s ever does.

Marsh was rested for the final match of the series, and replaced in the XI by… well… that’s actually an interesting question!

As well as Marsh, England rested Katherine Brunt and Nat Sciver, bringing in Jenny Gunn, Fran Wilson and 21-year-old Bryony Smith for an ODI debut. So who replaced who? It isn’t really straightforward, and Mark Robinson probably wasn’t thinking “like for like” anyway, but if you say that batsman Wilson replaced mostly-batsman Sciver, and bowling allrounder Gunn replaced bowling-allrounder Brunt, that leaves Smith to replace Marsh.

And yet Smith has come to prominence in domestic cricket as a hard-hitting opening batsman – topping the Women’s County Championship Batting Rankings with 347 runs for Surrey this season; and while she does bowl tidily at county, she is often second or third change and doesn’t take a huge number of wickets.

Nonetheless, she came into the team on Thursday, didn’t bat, but bowled her full compliment of 8 rain-reduced overs, with a very nice economy rate of 2.5 – in other words, exactly what we would have expected Laura Marsh to do!

So it seems that Mark Robinson is (again) one step ahead of the rest of us in identifying a role for Smith that no one else foresaw – while we were all thinking “The Next Tammy Beaumont” he was thinking “The Next Laura Marsh” and it is a role she could be perfectly suited to, not least because there probably isn’t an opening for “The Next Tammy Beaumont” for several years!

Smith might not take millions of wickets, but that won’t be her job – it will be to dry-up the runs in the post-powerplay overs, which is where West Indies really lost it again yesterday (they were actually slightly ahead of England on runs at 10 overs) and smacking some sixes down the order at the death is just an added bonus.

This is the candle Mark Robinson has offered Bryony Smith – it is now up to her to seize it… and she has made a pretty good start.

3 thoughts on “England v West Indies – Bryony Smith Offered The Candle For England

  1. Indeed a shrewd move, a necessary skill for the women’s coach.

    I hope we have green seamer wickets for the Ashes – Brunt, Gunn & Shrubsole deserve a level playing field against the Aussie bats on what could be their last hurrah. How MR will fill their spaces?


  2. It was good to see Jenny Gunn back bowling her seamers and swingers as opposed to the 10 mph floaters. Maybe we shall return to the occasional floaters in the 20 over games. Briony, good bat, good bowler I have seen her play since she was 11/12 for Surrey and oozes confidence, but also a willing learner. Laura Marsh could continue for a while yet if fitness allows, miserly run rates against her when not taking wickets. Finally, trumpet fanfare for Fran Wilson’s catch. In the Ben Stokes league!!


  3. I was impressed by her composure. In her first game you might have expected to see a few drag-downs and wides, but not a bit of it . Line and length good, very consistent, mid 50s mph and not to loopy. More like Ecclestone than say Hartley. Plus, she picked up a wicket in the way that we could see many more – the batter trying to go downtown to a ball where the shot wasn’t on, and finding long-on instead. If her batting gets a chance too, she could move up to the middle order or even higher maybe, in T20s.


Comments are closed.