Middlesex Women's Alex Hartley has been included in an England touring squad for the first time today as the ECB announced a fifteen strong England women’s touring party for the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against the West Indies in Jamaica next month.
The squad includes two uncapped players at this level: 17-year-old left-arm spinner, Sophie Ecclestone and right-arm seam bowler, Beth Langston.
Langston had previously been ruled-out of taking part in the three-week tour after breaking her left thumb during a training match earlier this month. However, with her rehab programme progressing more quickly than anticipated, the 24-year-old is now targeting a return to action in the Caribbean. It will be the first time that Langston has been a part of an England dressing room since making her Twenty20 International debut, also in the West Indies, three years ago.
Lancashire’s Sophie Ecclestone will be looking to build on the positive first impression she made on the international stage in the NatWest IT20 series against Pakistan this summer. She will be joined by fellow left-arm spinner, Alex Hartley, who has been named in an England touring party for the first time, alongside experienced off-spin duo, Danielle Hazell and Laura Marsh, as one of four spin bowling options in the squad.
The tour represents the first overseas challenge for new England women’s captain Heather Knight, following a series of record-breaking performances by her team against Pakistan on home soil in June. Kent’s Tammy Beaumont in particular will be looking to replicate her incredible run-scoring exploits in that series, which saw her hit 342 runs at an average of 171 across the three Royal London ODIs.
Middlesex middle-order batsman, Fran Wilson, has been ruled-out of selection for the tour after breaking her left little finger during training last week.
England Women’s Head Coach, Mark Robinson, said:
“We've done a lot of soul searching and worked incredibly hard since the ICC Women’s World T20 at the start of this year.
“The summer series against Pakistan couldn't have gone any better in terms of results, but more importantly the manner in which we went about playing our cricket was really pleasing.
“This tour to the West Indies will now give us a good idea of how far we have come. The heat of Jamaica and the ability of the West Indies team will test our skills, fitness and mental strength. Everyone is hugely excited by the challenge ahead.
“The unfortunate news of losing Fran Wilson with a broken finger at the end of last week has been tempered by the news that Beth Langston’s broken thumb is healing more quickly than expected, and she should be able to play a full part in the second half of the tour. Beth is bowling with good pace at the moment, and will give us another dimension with the ball.
“Sophie Ecclestone’s inclusion is a reward for all the promise she showed against Pakistan this summer. Fellow left-arm spinner Alex Hartley had a fantastic Kia Super League for Surrey Stars, and along with the two off-spinners – Laura Marsh and Danielle Hazell – the four spinners gives the bowling attack lots of options and balance.”
All five of England women’s fixtures against the West Indies will be played in Jamaica during a two-week window, starting on Saturday 8th and Monday 10th October with the first two ODIs at the Trelawny Stadium in the Montego Bay area of the Caribbean island.
The remaining three ODIs will form England’s sixth round of matches in the ICC Women’s Championship – the qualification tournament for the ICC Women’s World Cup in England in 2017 – and will be played at Sabina Park, Kingston on 14th, 16th and 19th October.
Stafanie Taylor’s West Indies side currently sit in second place in the ICC Women’s Championship table, one place and one point above England, having last been in action in South Africa in February, when they recorded a 2-1 ODI series victory. With just two rounds of the Championship remaining, a 3-0 score line against the West Indies would see Heather Knight’s England side secure one of the four automatic qualification spots for the home 50-over World Cup next summer.
Following the series in the West Indies, England women will travel to Sri Lanka in November to contest their final round of the ICC Women’s Championship. England women last toured in the Caribbean in November 2013, recording a 2-0 ODI series victory against the hosts.
England women’s squad for West Indies tour:
Heather Knight - Berkshire (capt), Anya Shrubsole - Somerset, Tammy Beaumont - Kent, Katherine Brunt - Yorkshire, Sophie Ecclestone - Lancashire, Georgia Elwiss - Sussex, Jenny Gunn - Warwickshire, Alexandra Hartley - Middlesex, Danielle Hazell - Yorkshire, Amy Jones - Warwickshire, Beth Langston - Yorkshire, Laura Marsh - Kent, Natalie Sciver - Surrey, Lauren Winfield - Yorkshire, Danielle Wyatt - Sussex.
England Women’s schedule for West Indies tour:
8.10.16 1st ODI Trelawny Stadium, Trelawny
10.10.16 2nd ODI Trelawny Stadium, Trelawny
14.10.16 3rd ODI * Sabina Park, Kingston
16.10.16 4th ODI * Sabina Park, Kingston
19.10.16 5th ODI * Sabina Park, Kingston
* ICC Women’s Championship fixture - The ICC Women’s Championship involves the top eight ranked women’s teams in the world and over a two year period from 2014-2016 all teams will play each other in a three-match ODI series either at home or away to create an ICC WC league table. The top four teams will qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup in England in 2017. Countries finishing in the bottom four will take part in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in early 2017 against teams from the ICC’s regional structures to determine the final four participants for the event.