England Ponder Long-Term Selection Issues

The sporting world is starting to look ahead on a longer-term basis and that extended vision is taking in major tournaments scheduled for 2021. Among the many highlights to look forward to is the women’s 50 over World Cup which is scheduled to take place in New Zealand between the 6th of February and the 7th of March.

England will go into the competition as the defending champions and, since winning on home soil in 2017, they’ve managed to maintain a largely settled squad.

 

Key Position

One potential blow to England’s chances of retaining the crown came when Sarah Taylor announced her international retirement. Widely regarded as the best wicketkeeper in the game, Taylor scored vital runs with the bat but some scarcely-believable work with the gloves saved innumerable runs when England took to the field.

Amy Jones has taken over and has produced some admirable displays but those are big gloves to fill. Jones is averaging a shade over 27 with the bat in ODIs and pressure on the opener’s berth from the likes of Lauren Winfield means that her place at the top of the order is far from assured. Even though they have had this major change, England are likely to be among the favorites in the cricket betting for the tournament.

Places Assured

While there are question marks in some areas of the side, many players are certain of their slots. Jones’ opening partner Tammy Beaumont will be inked in and she will be joined in the top four by Natalie Sciver. With the ball, the spearhead of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole will be obvious choices, if they remain fit, while Sophie Ecclestone is likely to be the first spinner named in the squad.

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The back up in the bowling department will come from Sciver and from the current skipper. Heather Knight has carried out an admirable job since taking over from Charlotte Edwards but the manner of her appointment shows that those in ultimate charge won’t be afraid to make difficult decisions.

Captain Questioned

Knight led England to an impressive World Cup win in 2017 but since then, the side has struggled against some top nations – most notably Australia. Elimination from the T20 World Cup was handed out in the most unfortunate circumstances but the Sydney rain couldn’t wash away the fact that England were not the best side on show across the tournament.

 

"Heather Knight" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Phil McIver
Heather Knight (CC BY-NC 2.0) by Phil McIver

Knight’s batting and bowling figures still stack up but could the selectors be pushed to look elsewhere for their leader ahead of the 2021 World Cup? Tammy Beaumont would be one obvious contender but the newly appointed captain of Trent Rockets could offer some tangible competition. Nat Sciver has been granted that particular accolade and as an all-rounder, she could take on the mantle while Beaumont concentrates on her batting. It may sound like a left-field suggestion but if England does want to make an effective defense of their world crown, the captaincy is one area to consider.

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