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Eng vs NZ, women’s T20Is

Eng vs NZ, women's T20Is

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ECB domestic contracts and success of the Hundred gives England their “widest pool of players” to pick from

The impact of increased professionalisation is already beginning to show in the women’s game, with England captain Heather Knight saying selection for the upcoming T20Is against New Zealand had featured the “widest pool of players” under discussion since she was appointed in 2016.

Last year, the ECB handed out its first batch of full-time domestic women’s contracts, with 41 players brought into the regional set-up as professionals, alongside those centrally contracted by England. That system has underpinned an increased playing programme this summer, featuring the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and 20-over Charlotte Edwards Cup, in addition to the Hundred (for which players were signed up separately).

The Hundred, which concluded at Lord’s just over a week ago, saw record-breaking attendances for women’s cricket in the UK, and contributed to first time call-ups for Maia Bouchier and Charlie Dean – although both will miss Wednesday’s opening T20I after being deemed close contacts of a Covid-19 case – as well as Emma Lamb, who was added to the squad as cover.
Another star of the new 100-ball tournament was Alice Capsey, the 17-year-old whose aggressive batting and canny offbreaks helped Oval Invincibles lift the trophy. Capsey caught the eye of Invincibles coach, Jonathan Batty, during last year’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy – because of her age he had to ask her mum’s permission before offering a spot at the Hundred – and she is already being touted as a future England international, albeit that studying for her A Levels may take precedence for now.

“Lots of people have talked about Alice, obviously she had an outstanding Hundred,” Knight said. “She’s been someone that’s been talked about a lot, as have a number of players, there’s been a lot of players that have stood up and put in performances and that’s been so good in terms of selection. It was probably the widest pool of players I think we’ve talked about since I’ve been captain, that’s for sure, and that’s a great things for the team.

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