England have announced two squads, totalling 29 players, who will travel to Australia in January, with the main team contesting the multi-format Women’s Ashes series, and an ‘A’ team set to play 3 T20 and 3 One Day matches against Australia ‘A’.
There are no surprises in the main squad, which is just the contracted players, plus last summer’s two debutantes – Maia Bouchier and Charlie Dean – minus the injured Katie George and Georgia Elwiss, who is relegated to the ‘A’ squad.
However while the personnel might be largely familiar, Heather Knight has indicated that the approach to the Ashes series will not be, with a promise that the team would be “bold” – a word she used 5 times during her press conference – as they take on the Aussies for the first time since their 12-4 humiliation at home in 2019.
“We’re going to have to play very well,” Knight said. “We’re going to have to play out of our skin. We’re going to have to be bold, and we’re going to have to stand up to the Australians.”
“We’ve got to meet fire with fire – we’ve got to make sure we’re trying to punch first and be aggressive towards them.”
With regards to the ‘A’ squad, England have chosen to mostly play it very safe. The squad has an average age of 24, and includes only two teenagers – Alice Capsey and Issy Wong. It means they are more likely to win what are certain to be very competitive matches; but it also means no spot for Grace Scrivens for example, who (Capsey aside) is the most talented of the up-coming generation, and would arguably have really benefitted from the experience.
With just 12 players named in the ‘A’ squad, it also seems highly likely that the ‘A’ team will be bolstered by players from the main squad left out of the concurrent Ashes games. So for instance, with the ‘A’ T20s scheduled at the same time as the Ashes Test, there’s a chance that England could play Danni Wyatt in the ‘A’ T20s, in preparation for the Ashes T20s which are scheduled for the week after.
But according to Knight there will also be the opportunity for players to go the other way, and step up to the main squad if they play really well.
“If those ‘A’ girls have a really good series and impress in those Australia a games, they’ve got the chance to make it into the full squad.”
However, Knight did (again!) admonish the media for getting over-excited about Alice Capsey, saying:
“She’s definitely one for the future; but I do think we need to be careful not to over-egg our players. Her time will come I’m sure, whether that’s at some point in the Ashes, in the World Cup, or down the line in a few years.”
Heather Knight (Western Storm, captain)
Tammy Beaumont (Lightning)
Maia Bouchier (Southern Vipers)
Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)
Kate Cross (Thunder)
Freya Davies (South East Stars)
Charlie Dean (Southern Vipers)
Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
Tash Farrant (South East Stars)
Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds, vice-captain)
Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm)
Mady Villiers (Sunrisers)
Lauren Winfield-Hill (Northern Diamonds)
Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)
Emily Arlott (Central Sparks)
Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers)
Alice Capsey (South East Stars)
Alice Davidson-Richards (South East Stars)
Georgia Elwiss (Southern Vipers)
Kirstie Gordon (Lightning)
Eve Jones (Central Sparks)
Beth Langston (Northern Diamonds)
Emma Lamb (Thunder)
Bryony Smith (South East Stars)
Ellie Threlkeld (Thunder)
Issy Wong (Central Sparks)