England Women have announced their squad for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup and new head coach Lisa Keightley is excited about the group she will work with in Australia.
The only change to the 15 players that were out in Malaysia last month for three one-day internationals and three IT20s against Pakistan is Georgia Elwiss returning in place of Kirstie Gordon.
After England reached the final of the tournament two years ago, Keightley, who only officially took over from Mark Robinson this month, wants them to match that feat in her native Australia.
“They have played in semi-finals and finals,” she said. “The core group of players can play on the big stage and competition cricket and that is what World Cups are.
“You need to play well and get a bit of momentum. I am excited with the group we’ve got, we’ve got a lot of options and I think we have covered most bases really well.
“I think we have a lot of variety and I’m looking forward to playing attacking, positive cricket, which I think you need to do against big teams.”
Before the T20 World Cup gets under way on February 21, England will take part in a Tri-Series against Australia and India.
The first match starts on January 31 and will give Keightley an opportunity to put plans in place and work closely with captain Heather Knight.
“It is perfect for me as a new coach to look at what our best line-up is and potential options,” the former Australia international added.
“We had a lot of conversations with Heather and definitely as captain you want to have a say on your team, but at the same time the criteria of picking your side you also want to have good conversations and people check and challenge.
“Jonathan Finch (ECB’s high performance manager for women and girls) was one of those people in the selection committee for the World Cup selection.
“Heather definitely had an input, as we all did, and we tried to pick the squad which we think has the best chance of winning the World Cup.”
The ECB have also revealed England Women’s schedule for the summer, with India visiting for two Vitality IT20s towards the end of June before a Royal London Series containing four ODIs occurs at the beginning of July.
Keightley’s side conclude the summer with South Africa visiting and taking part in two Vitality IT20s and then four ODIs to be played between September 1-16.
These fixtures bookend the inaugural edition of ‘The Hundred’ which starts on July 22 and concludes with the final on August 14.
New England Women’s head coach Keightley, who was going to take charge of London Spirit before replacing Robinson, says the tournament represents a chance for players to catch her eye.
She said: “The Hundred is a great opportunity and I’ll be looking at anyone who is performing in those competitions.
“If you can score runs, take wickets and field well and you are performing at that next level, it is exciting to see who puts their hand up.”
England Women played red-ball cricket in the multi-format Ashes series last summer, but are not set to play any Tests this year.
Four-day cricket could eventually become obsolete in the women’s game and Keightley, 48, sympathises with players.
“I love the Ashes and don’t get me wrong it is a fantastic competition, but I do feel sorry for the players when they play one Test match every two years,” she added.
“It’s tough to know where Test cricket will go moving forward and if it will be a part of the women’s game.
“I think it is really up to the ICC. I would hate it to be lost to the game, but at the same time I feel sorry for the players going out there and getting judged.”
England squad for Tri-Series and ICC T20 World Cup: Heather Knight (captain, Berkshire), Tammy Beaumont (Kent), Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire), Kate Cross (Lancashire), Freya Davies (Sussex), Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire), Georgia Elwiss (Sussex), Sarah Glenn (Worcestershire), Amy Jones (wicketkeeper, Warwickshire), Nat Sciver (Surrey, Anya Shrubsole (Berkshire), Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire), Fran Wilson (Kent), Danni Wyatt (Sussex), Mady Villiers (Essex).