Lancashire batting allrounder Emma Lamb has been awarded an England Rookie Contract, following her graduation last year from Edge Hill University.
Lamb was a key member of the Lancashire side which won the county double in 2017, scoring 333 runs and taking 13 wickets. The following season she bettered that, scoring 497 runs at an average of over 40, and taking 11 wickets with her off-spin.
She also made 30 appearances for Lancashire Thunder in the KSL, scoring 329 runs at a Strike Rate of 99, and taking 21 wickets with a best of 4-17.
Lamb, who has been a member of the Academy squad since she was a teenager, attended the Professional Cricketers Association’s 2020 “Rookie Camp” in February alongside Kirstie Gordon, and told the PCA’s in-house magazine Beyond The Boundaries:
“I don’t think you can underestimate how difficult it can be to balance university studies with training. It’s quite hard to focus on just the cricket.”
“After completing my Sports and Exercise Science degree at Edge Hill University, I’ve earned my contract so [cricket’s] now my main focus where it wasn’t before.”
Although women’s Rookie Contracts are by themselves not a full-time living wage, they allow a player who might otherwise have had to go out and look for a regular job to continue within the system; and Lamb will also be able to supplement her England contract with her earnings from playing for the
Werther’s Manchester Originals in The Hundred, assuming that goes ahead in August.
There’s a definite need to “find” more batsmen. There’s been a steady influx of bowlers over the last few years – inevitability with varying degrees of success – but not many batsmen have broken through. Sophia Dunkley and Bryony Smith are the only ones who have been given any opportunity (and Smith was picked more for her bowling, somewhat puzzlingly). Both seem to have fallen out of favour since.
It’s not as though there are many obvious candidates screaming for a chance. We hear a lot about Issy Wong and Lauren Bell as the next uncapped cabs off the bowling ranks, but it’s very quiet on the batting front.
England do have a little leeway – none of the current batsmen are likely to retire for a couple of years at least, I wouldn’t have thought, but they do need pressure on them to perform. We all do, or we get too comfortable in life. Its human nature. Sooner or later the next generation need to be given chances to succeed OR fail. It’s the only way you’ll ever know about them.
Discussion of the relative lack of batters coming through is chance to dust off a stat that only continues to get more incredible.
The last English woman to bat in the top six on ODI debut was Fran Wilson in November 2010.
Most recent times women’s ODI debutants batted in the top six for each nation:
2019 – IND, SL
2018 – PAK, NZ, BAN
2017 – WI, IRE
2016 – SA, AUS
2011 – NED (last time they had ODI status)
2010 – ENG
Double 2015 slipped in there, but you get the point,
Another way to make a similar point is to analyse the innings of players on their debut. Since Fran Wilson’s 1st ODI cap mentioned above (which was sadly a golden duck by the way) the sequence has been DNB, DNB, 41, 3, 1, DNB, 1*, 1*, DNB, 3, DNB, 9, DNB, DNB, DNB, DNB ………. and related number of wickets lost have been 3, 6, 8, 7, 7, 0, 10, 10, 4, 10, 2, 10, 6, 4, 6 ……… so its not really caused by the higher order batsmen hogging the bowling, rather as Hypocaust has noted, a lack of top 6 debutants.