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Lauren Bell backed to lead England’s seam attack for years to come

Lauren Bell celebrating a breakthrough in Antigua (Daniel Prentice/CWI Media)
Lauren Bell celebrating a breakthrough in Antigua (Daniel Prentice/CWI Media)

Lauren Bell has been tipped as a future leader of England’s bowling attack after an eye-catching start to her first overseas tour.

Bell has played a key role in her side’s ODI series win in the West Indies, sharing the new ball with the experienced Kate Cross and winning a crucial head-to-head with home captain Hayley Matthews.

The 21-year-old trapped the dangerous Matthews lbw in the first game in Antigua, then had her caught at slip with her opening delivery in the second.

She went on to wrap up figures of four for 33 as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, further polishing a growing reputation.

Bell was a hit for Southern Brave in the Hundred last summer, claiming 11 wickets in the tournament to finish as the top-performing homegrown bowler, and also made her international debut in all three formats.

And England team-mate Sophia Dunkley, who has watched her progress at close quarters, has seen enough to believe Bell will be a substantial part of the pace line-up for years to come.

Speaking ahead of the series closer at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Dunkley said: “Lauren brings so much. I was lucky enough to be on her team in the Hundred and watched her tear through a lot of top orders.

“To see her bowl like she did the other night was brilliant. It was a game-winning spell – two wickets in her first over, four in the game – it was great to see. She’s still so young but there’s so much experience she can add to her game.

“I’m sure she’ll go on to do a lot of big things for us and lead this seam bowling attack. She’s got such positive energy and always wants to be involved. She’ll be a great leader in years to come.”

Dunkley has also grown quickly as an established player in the one-day side, starting out as a number six but moving up to number three during the summer.

Having also been used an opener in T20 cricket, the 24-year-old has been identified as a player who can help shape the way in the aggressive manner England want to play and hit a fluent 57 on Tuesday night.

“I had a good conversation with Heather (Knight, captain) on how the previous year had gone, how they see me fitting in,” she explained.

“My game is naturally attacking so it’s a way of getting momentum going at the start of the game, hopefully it’s a role that suits me. But it’s a really talented batting order and we have people who can bat in every position.”