NEWS: Sarah Taylor To Join UAE Camp

England have announced that Sarah Taylor will after all join England’s pre-season training camp in the UAE, during which an England XI will play 3 non-international matches against Ireland.

Although Taylor has stayed out of the limelight for the past year, and hasn’t played any competitive cricket since the World T2o semi-final in India last March, she has remained a part of the England squad throughout that period, and has been training over the winter.

Nevertheless if she is, as England clearly hope, to make her return in time for the World Cup, she needs something more than nets at Loughborough to prepare, and hopefully this fairly low-key training camp offers that opportunity.

Additionally joining England on the camp in a coaching capacity will be recently retired Lancashire men’s captain Tom Smith, who is also going to be involved with Lancashire Thunder during KSL2.

England Head Coach Mark Robinson said:

“Bringing people [like Tom Smith] in helps further their own careers and brings continuity and quality within the coaching setup… He is fresh out of the game and is hungry to learn and develop as a coach. It’s great to get him in.”

BREAKING: The Women’s County Championship

At the launch event for the (Men’s) County Championship at Merchant Taylors School last week, Clare Connor stood on stage alongside the bigwigs of the men’s game to celebrate the inclusion of a fourth “major” trophy into the pantheon of English domestic cricket – alongside the (Men’s) County Championship, the (Men’s) One Day Cup and the (Men’s) T20 Blast, we now have the Women’s Kia Super League.

“It’s a visual reminder for the game that we now have four major trophies on offer in our domestic season.”

The following day, Scyld Berry reported to readers of the Telegraph:

“Clare Connor, the ECB’s director of women’s cricket, made the point that counties had ceased to produce a good national women’s team and had to be replaced by franchises.”

Replaced?

Replaced?

Well, no – we can assure you that on Sunday 30th April, players from Berkshire to Yorkshire, and all manner of shires in-between, will walk out onto the fields of England to embark upon the chase for the Women’s County Championship of 2017.

To be fair to Scyld Berry, he was only reporting what he heard… and to be equally fair to Clare Connor, we don’t doubt that what he heard probably wasn’t quite what she said.

But the impression is clear enough – as far as the ECB are concerned, the Women’s County Championship occupies the status of Mrs Rochester to the KSL’s Jane Eyre, and we all remember what happened to Mrs Rochester… right? (TLDR: madness, fire, suicide, blar, blar, blar.)

As if to emphasise the point, at the end of last week, the ECB sent out a press release detailing the international player rosters for KSL2, which (lest we forget) doesn’t even start until after the World Cup, in which the only mention of the word “county” was to confirm that Finals Day will be held at the “Central County Ground” in Hove.

But the fact of the matter is that it is county cricket, with the Women’s County Championship at its heart, which remains the bedrock of the elite women’s game in this country – Div 1 offering 3,920 overs of cricket (including the T2o Cup) compared to the KSL’s 680 overs. We should be shouting from the rooftops… not jumping from them! [Okay… that’s enough Jane Eyre references – Ed.]

But perhaps the real lesson here, however, isn’t for us at all – it is for the fans of the men’s game, who are being told that the coming City T20, designed around the same franchise model as the KSL, won’t downgrade the status of their County Championship.

Yer.

We were told that too.

BREAKING: England & Overseas Players Announced For KSL2

The ECB have revealed the England and Overseas player rosters for KSL2, with moves for a number of players, including for England’s two Danielle’s: Hazell heading across the Pennines to captain the Thunder, and Wyatt moving down south to the Vipers.

It has also been announced that both Charlotte Edwards and Arran Brindle will be returning for the Vipers; but not Lydia Greenway, who effectively therefore confirms her retirement from the “spotlight” level of the game, though she may yet appear for Kent this season in a “player-coach” capacity.

Two overseas players (at the Stars and the Storm) are still “To Be Confirmed”.

Lancashire Thunder

  • Kate Cross
  • Danielle Hazell
  • Sarah Taylor
  • Jess Jonassen (AUS)
  • Amy Satterthwaite (NZ)
  • Lea Tahuhu (NZ)

Loughborough Lightning

  • Georgia Elwiss
  • Amy Jones
  • Beth Langston
  • Kristen Beams (AUS)
  • Ellyse Perry (AUS)
  • Elyse Villani (AUS)

Southern Vipers

  • Tash Farrant
  • Danielle Wyatt
  • Suzie Bates (NZ)
  • Hayley Matthews (WI)
  • Dane van Niekerk (SA)
  • Charlotte Edwards
  • Arran Brindle

Surrey Stars

  • Tammy Beaumont
  • Alex Hartley
  • Laura Marsh
  • Natalie Sciver
  • Rene Farrell (AUS)
  • Marizanne Kapp (SA)
  • TBC (OS)

Western Storm

  • Heather Knight
  • Anya Shrubsole
  • Fran Wilson
  • Rachel Priest (NZ)
  • Stafanie Taylor (WI)
  • TBC (OS)

Yorkshire Diamonds

  • Katherine Brunt
  • Jenny Gunn
  • Lauren Winfield
  • Sophie Devine (NZ)
  • Sune Luus (SA)
  • Beth Mooney (AUS)

NEWS: 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup Cancelled

The 2017 Women’s World Cup, which was due to be staged in England this summer, has been cancelled, according to a statement from Cricket Australia.

Bruce Bruceton, the Deputy Vice Chief Executive of Women’s Cricket in Australia, made the announcement at a special press conference last night in Melbourne.

Bruceton said:

“It was clear to everyone that Australia were going to win the World Cup anyway, so we’ve decided to do the sensible thing and just keep the trophy for another 4 years.”

Australian skipper Meg Megastar, who has been credited with an additional 9 international centuries, to make up for the ones she would have scored anyway if the tournament had been played, added:

“I’m really, really good at the crickets. By the way… has anyone seen Warnie?”

It is expected that a decision on the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand will be made shortly after midday.

NEWS: England Name Squad For UAE Training Camp & Ireland Matches

England have named a huge squad of 24 players for their up-coming training camp in the UAE, which will include 3 one-day matches (NB – not “official” ODIs) against Ireland on 24th, 26th and 28th of April, as well as a number of inter-squad games.

The squad includes all the contracted players except Sarah Taylor; plus 7 faces from the Senior Academy squad, including Berkshire’s Linsey Smith and Kent’s Alice Davidson-Richards. Although neither Smith nor Davidson-Richards have quite “come from nowhere”, neither was really in the England picture a year ago, but as with Alex Hartley, it shows that Mark Robinson’s England are prepared to cast their net a little wider than might have been the case in the past.

As for Taylor, England are clearly still hoping she might make the World Cup – she is back in training, but not at full fitness, and England have stressed that there are no timescales in place – she will be back when she is ready, be that in time for the World Cup, or not.

UPDATE

The ECB have confirmed that the contracted players will not be available for the first two rounds of the County Championship on April 30th/ May 1st; whilst the Academy players will be released on a case-by-case basis.

Full Squad:

  • Heather Knight
  • Anya Shrubsole
  • Tammy Beaumont
  • Katherine Brunt
  • Kate Cross
  • Georgia Elwiss
  • Tash Farrant
  • Jenny Gunn
  • Alexandra Hartley
  • Danielle Hazell
  • Amy Jones
  • Beth Langston
  • Laura Marsh
  • Nat Sciver
  • Fran Wilson
  • Lauren Winfield
  • Danielle Wyatt
  • Georgia Adams
  • Hollie Armitage
  • Alice Davidson-Richards
  • Sophie Ecclestone
  • Eve Jones
  • Emma Lamb
  • Linsey Smith

OPINION: Women’s Salaries In Australia – The Story… And The REAL Story

Give them their due, Cricket Australia really are the masters of media management. This morning we’ve seen the mainstream newspapers, not to mention some of the cricket press who really should know better, fall over themselves to laud CA over a one-sided press release which in reality is just another battle in their war with the Australian (Men’s) Cricketers’ Association (ACA) over the future of men’s salaries.

The press release proclaims an amazing leap forwards for the women’s game:

“Women’s Pay Set To Double” is typical of the headlines in the mainstream press; and this would be big news if it was news… but unfortunately that isn’t quite what it is.

The small print begins even in that tweet from Cricket Australia – this isn’t a deal, it is an “offer” made by CA to the ACA – the latest bargaining chip in the protracted round of negotiations over a new deal for Australia’s men’s cricketers.

For a few years now, the men in Australia… in an agreement based on a “memorandum of understanding” which totally excludes the women… have been paid based on a revenue sharing agreement – when CA does well, the men do well; and when CA win the lottery (as they have with the BBL), the men win the lottery.

CA want to ditch this deal, for reasons both good and bad – they want to keep back more money for CA itself, but they would argue that this will allow them to invest in the future of the game, and put aside grain for the lean years which will inevitably roll around one day.

Unsurprisingly, the men aren’t terribly keen on this, and through their union – which is what the ACA is – they are fighting tooth and nail to keep revenue sharing.

Today’s offer is an attempt by CA to cut through the Gordian Knott of the ACA’s intransigence on this issue. By bringing the women into it, and aspiring to double their salaries, CA make themselves out to be the good guys, and challenge the ACA to look like sexist dinosaurs if they spurn this latest offer.

And by releasing it to the media the way they have, CA also clearly hope to create a fait accompli – to make the deal almost impossible for the ACA to reject, because the media have already painted it as “done”.

If it eventually happens, and if the small print lives up to the headlines, then sure – it would be a game-changer. But those are big “ifs”; and the media are doing the women, who are being used as cannon-fodder in a cynical game of “blink” between CA and the ACA, a disservice in writing those headlines based on where we really are at right now.

NEWS: County Comings & Goings – Knight Steps Down At Berks; Hartley Goes Home To Lancs

Berkshire

All rounder Lissy Macleod has been appointed the new Berkshire captain. With Heather Knight stepping down from the role due to her international commitments with England in a home World Cup summer, Macleod was the obvious candidate to take over, having made over 100 appearances for the Beavers since her debut in 2008, with 14 fifties, 1 century, and 77 wickets to her name. Knight will continue to play for Berkshire where her schedule allows.

Lancashire

England spinner Alex Hartley has re-signed for Lancashire after 4 seasons at Middlesex. Hartley first emerged through the Lancashire youth system, but joined Middlesex to reboot a career which had appeared to be stalled at the time – a smart move, which ended with her being awarded a full England contract off the back of her international debut last summer.

Also heading to Lancashire is England Academy batsman Eve Jones, as the side look to avoid the fate they suffered last time they were promoted to Div 1, when they were sent immediately back down to Div 2 after 8 straight defeats.

Nottinghamshire

Notts – the other newly promoted county in Div 1 – have also been shopping, acquiring Jodie Dibble from Devon, Lucy Higham from Leicestershire and Megan Burton from Wales. Dibble dropped out of the national squad last year, and had a pretty indifferent Super League for the Western Storm; but she is only 22 and it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that Notts represents a way back for her to some day add to her one England cap.

Middlesex

Despite the disappointment of not winning a Super League franchise last year, Middlesex have taken the bold step of appointing Danni Warren as their new Head of Women’s Cricket, to oversee both the county and MCC sides. Warren made over 100 appearances for the county between 2002-2015, taking more than 150 wickets.

Having lost Hartley, Middlesex will be looking very much to youth this season, and have promoted both Gayatri Gole and Katie Wolfe from their U19 squad, as they try to improve on last season’s narrow scrape with relegation in Div 1.

Hampshire

Hampshire narrowly missed out on promotion from Div 2 last season, but it will be a different business down at the Ageas Bowl this year. With Charlotte Edwards and now New Zealand captain Suzie Bates also signed up to play county cricket in 2017, Hampshire are clearly making a big long-term play for a future in the women’s game, keeping their eggs in both the KSL and county baskets, ahead of the likelihood of further fluidity* in the structure of women’s domestic cricket in 2019/20.

———–

* We don’t have any inside info on this; but with the changes coming to The Other Game, we suspect the logical move would be to create parallel women’s teams, and if the Super League is still going in 2021, we’ll eat our own pizzas!!

Australia v New Zealand: Bowling Rankings – Teenage Kicks for Wellington & Kerr

Our bowling rankings, covering the T20 and ODI Rosebowl series between Australia and New Zealand, see a number of unexpected new faces in the leading positions: of the top 4, only New Zealand’s Holly Huddleston has played more than 10 internationals, and the “Hudd Missile” herself has played less than 30 – a number she now looks nailed-on to add to at the World Cup in England in the summer.

After an underwhelming WBBL with wooden-spooners the Adelaide Strikers, 19-year-old Amanda Wellington has come roaring back to the top of her game with 15 wickets, including a best of 4-16 to restrict New Zealand to just 113 in the 3rd T20 – a match-winning platform which the Southern Stars batsmen then proceeded to throw away in spectacular fashion, as they were bowled out for just 66.

New Zealand’s own new teenage sensation – sixteen-year-old Amelia Kerr – also took her best figures in a losing cause – 4-54 in the 2nd ODI. They weren’t just any wickets either, but included a set Meg Lanning and Beth Mooney (on 44 and 57, respectively) and Elyse Villani for a golden duck. Kerr also finished the series with the best economy rate of any of the leading bowlers – just 4.5.

Having made her Southern Stars debut in this series, Molly Strano played just the 3 T20s and already has an international fifer to her name – 5-10 in the 2nd T20. But guess what? That was also in a lost match, as Australia fell short chasing a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted target of 70 off 13 overs, limping to 61-9.

Player Matches Wickets Economy
1. Amanda Wellington (AUS) 6 15 5.1
2. Holly Huddleston (NZ) 6 11 4.7
3. Amelia Kerr (NZ) 4 6 4.5
4. Molly Strano (AUS) 3 7 5.3
5. Lea Tahuhu (NZ) 6 7 5.3
6. Anna Peterson (NZ) 6 6 4.8
7. Jess Jonassen (AUS) 6 5 4.9
8. Ashleigh Gardner (AUS) 5 4 5.3
9. Kristen Beams (AUS) 4 4 5.4
10. Suzie Bates (NZ) 6 4 5.5

Ranking = Wickets / Economy

NEWS: World Cup Schedule Released – All The England Games

The ICC and ECB have this morning announced England’s schedule for the up-coming World Cup this summer, with the home side playing at all 4 “host” grounds – Derby, Leicester, Taunton and Bristol – during the round-robin stages; followed by a semi-final at either Bristol or Derby, and (if they get there, of course) the final at Lords on July 23rd.

England begin by hosting the subcontinental trio – India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. You’d think they’d have to be looking to win all 3 of those games to put themselves in a strong position for the tougher tests to come, when a slip-up somewhere along the line is probably inevitable. England certainly won’t want to be going into the last couple of games, versus New Zealand and the West Indies, with semi-final qualification in doubt, though that will possibly depend very-much on how evenly all those other results fall.

With everyone playing everyone else in the group stages, it is going to be a huge tournament – 31 matches in just 30 days – so whoever eventually lifts that trophy at Lords will truly have earned the title of “World Champions”.

England’s Schedule Match Venue
Saturday 24 June v India Derby
Tuesday 27 June v Pakistan Leicester
Sunday 02 July v Sri Lanka Taunton
Wednesday 05 July v South Africa Bristol
Sunday 09 July v Australia Bristol
Wednesday 12 July v New Zealand Derby
Saturday 15 July v West Indies Bristol
Tuesday 18 July Semi Final 1 Bristol
Thursday 20 July Semi Final 2 Derby
Sunday 23 July Final Lord’s

Australia v New Zealand: Batting Rankings – Meg Lanning In Not Top Shock!

She might be the best player in the world right now… she might have more ODI centuries than any other woman ever, after she passed Charlotte Edwards record 9 during this series… but for once Meg Lanning isn’t at the top of our batting rankings, covering the T20 and ODI Rosebowl series between Australia and New Zealand.

Instead, it is Amy Satterthwaite who rules the roost with the blade – she has been in spectacular international nick over the past few months, and after dominating New Zealand’s series with South Africa last October, she continued her rich vein of form here, including a match-winning century in the 1st ODI.

For the Australians, Beth Mooney had a break-out series, almost certainly confirming her ticket to England in the summer; but Elyse Villani was actually arguably even more important, with a big Strike Rate of 118, coming in a bit further down the order at 4 or 5, having usually opened in her international career to date; and it clearly worked, so you’d think this is probably where we are likely to see her batting during the World Cup.

Player Matches Runs Strike Rate
1. Amy Satterthwaite (NZ) 6 269 86
2. Meg Lanning (AUS) 6 237 91
3. Elyse Villani (AUS) 6 179 118
4. Beth Mooney (AUS) 6 232 83
5. Suzie Bates (NZ) 6 204 82
6. Katey Martin (NZ) 6 171 86
7. Alex Blackwell (AUS) 5 149 86
8. Rachel Priest (NZ) 6 146 74
9. Katie Perkins (NZ) 5 108 99
10. Alyssa Healy (AUS) 6 77 99

Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate