Source: ECB

England’s Test Squad to play India – One solitary Addition

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In announcing the 17 names for the wider squad to play the test match against India, Lisa Keightley has stressed the difficulty of making choices in these troubled times.

The result is to continue her conservative choices, introducing just one player to the group.

Emily Arlott has the chance to make her debut at the age of 23. Her outstanding performances for Sparks have vaulted her close to the top level. Whether she will make the final eleven remains to be seen.

The balance of the bowling line-up will be crucial. For far too long Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole have had to bear the heat of the day leading the seam attack. Now Keightley has to choose between Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Tash Farrant and Arlott. How many front-line bowlers does she think needful in a 4-day match?

She has resisted the temptation to add more slow bowlers to the mix, though Mady Villiers still has to prove her worth. With so many off-spinners plying their trade competently in the RHF Trophy, she might consider herself lucky still to be first pick. But then, modern trends make three spinners in an eleven a distant echo of the 1950s.

But that means that the rest of the team have to be capable of taking 20 wickets. All-rounders such as Nat Sciver and Georgia Elwiss take on a big responsibility of doing more than holding one end tight.

The batting line-up is more straightforward. One question is, who opens with Tammy Beaumont? Amy Jones hasn’t been starting for Sparks this season; Eve Jones, Gwen Davies and Milly Home have done the job. Expecting a keeper to open in a 4-day game is far tougher than in a 1-day.

If Lauren Winfield-Hill fills in, she will need to improve on her past test record: 3 matches, 94 runs, average 15. These stats prove two things: the lack of competition from a younger generation of English batters, and the rarity of test matches. We must hope India’s willingness to stage this one is a good omen for the future.

Arguing against that is the points issue. For as long as a solitary test match is merely one element in winning a series (add in three T20s and ODIs), the temptation will be to play out for a draw if a win looks unlikely.

In order to ensure players have the maximum chance to play competitive cricket, those omitted from the final selection will be able to appear in Round 4 of the RHF Trophy. That will hearten the hubs, if not the players themselves.

But how pleasant it will be to see women cricketers making friends with the red ball again. You have to wonder how often they have seen one over recent years. It can do weird and wonderful things not granted to the white one.

The Pitch

There is little to be learned about how the Bristol pitch will play from Gloucestershire’s home games thus far. We can safely discount their 27-6 which came at the end of a rain-sodden match against Somerset. In fairer weather sides have happily topped 400 and 300 in their first innings.

And Gloucestershire have been enjoying a rare run of form, which must be a good augury for England.

The Squad:

Heather Knight (Western Storm, captain)
Emily Arlott (Central Sparks)
Tammy Beaumont (Lightning)
Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)
Kate Cross (Thunder)
Freya Davies (South East Stars)
Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
Georgia Elwiss (Southern Vipers)
Tash Farrant (South East Stars)
Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm)
Mady Villiers (Sunrisers)
Fran Wilson (Sunrisers)
Lauren Winfield-Hill (Northern Diamonds)


16th-19th June
County Ground, Bristol