Source: Don Miles for the ECB

England A v New Zealand – The Carry-over from The Hundred

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The Hundred was an enormous boost for English cricket, especially for the women’s game. Where does it go from here?

The elite end has a packed programme of events: a series against New Zealand already under way, a tour of Pakistan next month, and a World Cup next March in New Zealand.

The opening game of the White Ferns’ tour went under the radar. The high octane experience at Lord’s needed to be followed up vigorously to ensure women’s cricket in England maintains its forward momentum.

Answer: a 50-over match the following Monday between an England A Eleven and the White Ferns at Derby. Excellent!

The only slight problem: no mention of it from English sources till long after the game started. The only coverage initially came from the White Ferns’ twitter account, giving occasional updates.

The same players who had appeared last week in front of 5-figure crowds now returned to the backwaters of women’s cricket.

The Match

The White Ferns flew over from Auckland on 13 August. A week later they played their first game. It was termed a friendly/warm-up, 14-a-side, but in the event only eleven appeared for England.

The team selected was fascinating.

The Eleven:

Bryony Smith (captain)
Grace Scrivens
Naomi Dattani
Charlotte Dean
Alice Davidson-Richards
Katie George
Abi Freeborn
Beth Langston
Sophie Munro
Hannah Baker
Hannah Jones

Included were two of the most promising teenagers, Scrivens and Baker, more young hopefuls in Dean, George, Munro and Jones, and a leavening of experience in the captain, Dattani, AD-R and Langston. Freeborn of Lightning was offered the gloves.

Result:
New Zealand 223
England A: 226-6

Susie Bates (70), returning from a long injury break, held the White Ferns’ innings together. Katey Martin (52) guided the tail through to a useful total.

Of the opening bowlers Beth Langston finished with 2-25, including the wicket of opener Hayley Jensen for a duck, but she bowled a flurry of wides. The three spinners, Jones, Baker and the captain took a combined five wickets.

In reply Scrivens and Smith made a sound start, the captain unsurprisingly outpacing her young partner to reach 53 off 58 balls. If the selectors were looking for an opener who is willing to put down roots, then Scrivens may be an answer. She played an almost invisible role in the Hundred, but here reached a calm 39 off 58 – and she is a left-hander, an endangered species in the national game.

Wickets started falling uncomfortably in midstream, but AD-R (43 off 60) kept her powder dry, using her experience to realise that 50 overs are a long time in cricket. This was an important knock for her, but it needed Langston’s all-rounder credentials to provide some big hits at the close, two consecutive fours in the 48th over saw the reserves safely home.

Selection Issues

As we look again at this Eleven, we could easily dream up a parallel side equally eligible for selection. Perhaps a carefully graded ‘batting order’ of potential England players already exists, so, for example, other keepers like Ellie Threlkeld, Nat Wraith and Carla Rudd already know their position in life and don’t feel disowned.

Once more the dearth of outstanding batters to take over from the established leaders became apparent. Neither Eve Jones nor Emma Lamb were chosen. Let’s hope they were assured of better things.

George’s selection is especially interesting. She batted No 6 (6) and didn’t bowl. She played for Welsh Fire throughout the Hundred but didn’t bowl there either. While her back injury woes continue, the England selectors are obviously keen to tell her she is still in their thoughts.

The top 6 here were Smith, Scrivens, Dattani, Dean, AD-R and George. Of them only the skipper is a likely addition to England’s batting strength in the short term. Both Dattani and AD-R are 27 and, delighted as they must have been for the call-up, were probably equally surprised. Dattani at least offers the bonus of being another left-hander.

Dean is better known as an off-spinner. If she can develop into another Sciver or Knight that will be a huge plus. The youngest of the six, Scrivens, is a name for the future.

Seven bowlers were used, all going for over 4 per over bar Dean whose off-breaks returned an economical 10-0-29-1. But England is well supplied with talented offers.

Afterthought

It’s excellent to see a full programme of matches between the Academies of the eight regional hubs. The next generation is being properly looked after.