Lauren Bell has been called up to the England squad for the T20 series versus India, replacing Katherine Brunt, who will sit out of both the T20 and ODI series to (in the words of head coach Lisa Keightley) “maximise her mental and physical recovery off the back of what has been an intense year so far”.
Bell made her Test and ODI debuts against South Africa earlier in the summer, but was overlooked for the Commonwealth Games. However, she has now won selection off the back of an excellent Hundred, having placed third in the our bowling rankings and finished with 11 wickets, including 4-10 for Brave v Rockets – the best return in the competition.
With Heather Knight not expected to return to action until later in the year following her hip op, Nat Sciver will again captain the side, which is otherwise unchanged from the Commonwealth Games squad, with the 3 “Young Guns” – Alice Capsey, Freya Kemp and Issy Wong – all retaining their spots; and no return for either Lauren Winfield-Hill, who was one of the leading batters in The Hundred, or Tammy Beaumont.
There’s also no call-up for Em Arlott, despite outshining fellow Phoenix Issy Wong in The Hundred; and no backup wicket keeper in the squad.
Although obviously a reserve keeper could be drafted-in for the India series, this won’t be the case at the up-coming T20 World Cup, so England would appear to be taking a bit of a gamble on Amy Jones not getting injured, given that the plan presumably is that the World Cup squad will be this squad, plus Knight and Brunt, with one of the other fast bowlers missing out.
Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds, Captain)
Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers)
Maia Bouchier (Southern Vipers)
Alice Capsey (South East Stars)
Kate Cross (Thunder)
Freya Davies (South East Stars)
Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
Freya Kemp (Southern Vipers)
Bryony Smith (South East Stars)
Issy Wong (Central Sparks)
Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)
Balls Bowled = 178
Runs Conceded = 172
Eco Rate = 5.79
Wickets taken = 11
Strick Rate = wicket every 16.18 balls
Balls Bowled = 128
Runs Conceded = 100
Eco Rate = 4.68
Wickets taken = 9
Strick Rate = wicket every 14.22 balls
So Arlott had a better economy and strike rate than Bell in The Hundred – the 2 bowling dimensions that really matter.
Keightley stated “It provides an opportunity for Lauren Bell, who was impressive in The Hundred”
So Bell was selected based on her The Hundred form yet Arlott, who performed better than Bell in The Hundred, was not.
If The Hundred was really Keightley’s basis of selection (and presumably it wasn’t and her statement was just the usual ECB media spin), then Arlott should be selected ahead of Bell should be selected ahead of Wong.
[to be more complete] //…. then Arlott should be selected ahead of Bell should be selected ahead of Wong (eco=6, s/r=45) should be selected ahead of Kemp (eco=8.09, s/r=83).
So the best performing bowler in The Hundred of these four is precisely the one not selected for the squad.
I think Bell deserves a chance in T20 but the Clanger is right, Arlott has probably been even more impressive and having been in Test squads before, should be given a go in another format she obviously has much potential in. I’m not sure why England didn’t use that extra spare squad spot as well, perhaps to name another replacement batter for Knight – could have had Beaumont back, or Lamb, or LWH as additional wicketkeeper cover etc. Seems strange and it’s left us a bit light in the reserve batting.
Just a note on India’s rained-off T20 warm up, a certain very promising 18 year old bowler with the initials RMG took 6-18 as India were bowled out inside 20 overs!