The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today announced the England women’s touring party for the five-match One-Day International (ODI) and three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series in New Zealand next month.
Charlotte Edwards (Kent) will captain a 15-player squad, which includes left-arm spinner Rebecca Grundy (Warwickshire) and Kent’s off-spinning all-rounder Laura Marsh, as they both return to the England fold after recovering from groin and shoulder injuries respectively. Grundy will be looking to build on her impressive introduction to international cricket during the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, while for the more experienced Marsh, it is the first time that she has been part of an England squad since playing a key role in the 2013 Women’s Ashes success.
Vice-captain Heather Knight (Berkshire), wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor (Sussex) and Edwards will all be re-joining their England team-mates for the 28-day tour, after a winter playing state cricket in the Australian Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL) and Women’s Twenty20 (WT20) competition.
England’s fast bowling unit in New Zealand will once again be spearheaded by Yorkshire’s Katherine Brunt and Somerset’s Anya Shrubsole, with support from Kate Cross (Lancashire) and all-rounders Jenny Gunn and Natalie Sciver (Nottinghamshire and Surrey). Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire) will offer Edwards another spin option, wicket-keeper Amy Jones (Warwickshire) will provide cover behind the stumps, and batters Lydia Greenway (Kent), Danielle Wyatt (Nottinghamshire) and Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire) complete the 15-player New Zealand touring party.
Commenting on the squad, ECB Head of England Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor, said: “The selectors were in a privileged position when picking the New Zealand touring party with every player in the 21-strong England women’s performance programme fit and available for selection. As a result, this is one of the strongest squads that we have been able to name for a while, and I am especially pleased to see Laura Marsh and Rebecca Grundy return to international duty, following their extended absences through injury.”
“This year is hugely important for England women, with the home Women’s Ashes series fast approaching. However, in respect of the ICC Women’s Championship and ultimately qualification for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup in England, this series against New Zealand carries exactly the same significance as the series against Australia later in the summer. The first three ODIs between England and New Zealand will count directly towards qualification for that World Cup, and New Zealand are a very good team, so there’s no question that this will be a tough tour.”
The first three ODIs in New Zealand on February 11, 13 and 15 at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, will form England’s second round of matches in the new ICC Women’s Championship. In the first round against India last summer, England secured five out of a possible six points, after winning the first two Royal London ODIs in Scarborough, but being forced to share the points in the rain abandoned third match at Lord’s.
England and New Zealand will subsequently travel to Whangarei to play back-to-back T20Is at the Cobham Oval on February 19 and 20, before finishing the tour with the third T20I and two remaining ODIs on February 24, 26 and 28 at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln.
Photo shows Rebecca Grundy bowling against Sri Lanka in 2014.