LONDON: Alex Hartley, the uncapped left-arm spinner, and Fran Wilson, who last played an international match in 2011, earned call-ups to the England Women’s squad of 15 for the first two one-dayers against Pakistan Women, following strong performances for England Women’s Academy in Sri Lanka earlier this year.
Amy Jones has been designated to take over the wicketkeeping duties from Sarah Taylor, while Lauren Winfield, has been named as a back-up option. Taylor is currently on an indefinite break from the game to recover from stress and anxiety issues that have riddled her for the last four years.
June 20 will also officially mark a change of guard in England women’s cricket as Heather Knight, the allrounder, will lead the side for the first time following Charlotte Edwards’ retirement in May. Knight will have in her ranks a top-quality pace attack led by Anya Shrubsole, the newly-appointed vice-captain, and Katherine Brunt, who is one short of 100 ODI wickets. Beth Langston, the seamer, has been ruled out of selection because of an ankle injury.
“Monday is going to be a very proud day for our new captain and vice-captain, Heather Knight and Anya Shrubsole,” Mark Robinson, the head coach, said. “Under their leadership we will start a new chapter for the England Women’s team against a Pakistan side that cannot be underestimated. Pakistan showed everyone during the ICC World T20 how dangerous they can be, when they beat the hosts India on their own patch. They represent a fresh challenge that as a squad we can’t wait to get out there and tackle.”
All three ODIs of the series will count towards the ICC Women’s Championship that will determine the top four direct qualifiers for the 2017 Women’s World Cup to be held in England next year. England and Pakistan are currently placed sixth and seventh, respectively. However, England have an incentive of moving to No. 3 if they win the series, while Pakistan can jump two spots should they win all three matches.
“Historically, we have a strong record against Pakistan, but the quality of international women’s cricket is rising all the time, so we are looking forward to the challenge of facing them on home soil over the next few weeks,” Robinson said. “We have a bit of catching up to do in the ICC Women’s Championship, so we will need to play some strong, positive cricket to secure maximum points in the three ODIs in order to move into the top four of that table.”