Seventeen-year-old Sophie Ecclestone has been included in England women’s squad for the three-match NatWest International Twenty20 (IT20) series against Pakistan. The Lancashire left-arm spinner will be the latest fresh face in Heather Knight’s England dressing room, after Alex Hartley made her One-Day International (ODI) debut against the tourists in Taunton earlier this week.
The 15-strong squad also sees the return of Kent left-arm seamer, Natasha Farrant. Farrant replaces vice-captain Anya Shrubsole, who has been ruled out of selection due to a side injury.
Ecclestone and Farrant are the two changes to the England women’s squad that beat Pakistan 3-0 in the Royal London ODI series, with Ecclestone selected in place of Lancashire team-mate Kate Cross.
In a series where records tumbled, England’s batsmen in particular will head into the NatWest IT20 series full of confidence having amassed over 900 runs across the three 50-over clashes against Pakistan. Opener Tammy Beaumont will be looking to build on her incredible form, having scored a total of 342 runs at an average of 171, earning her a spot in the record books for the highest ever run tally by any player in a three-match ODI series.
Commenting on the thinking behind the NatWest IT20 squad selection, England Women’s Head Coach, Mark Robinson, said:
“We’ve smashed a lot of boundaries and broken a lot of records so far this summer, and I couldn’t be more proud of the team than I am right now. The NatWest IT20 series brings a new set of challenges and further opportunities for the players, and I’m really pleased to call-up Sophie Ecclestone for the first time, and to welcome Tash Farrant back into the dressing room.
“Sophie brings youth, vitality and another left arm spin option alongside Alex Hartley into the squad. We have two world class off-spinners in Danielle Hazell and Laura Marsh, but we also need to be aware of the talent that we have underneath, and making sure that we are developing the likes of Alex and Sophie, by having them in the group and giving them international match day experience.
“It’s a real shame that Beth Langston misses out on selection again due to injury. She worked tremendously hard during the winter and had a great tour to Sri Lanka with the England Women’s Academy, but unfortunately hasn’t been able to get involved so far this summer because of her ankle.
“Kate Cross has been left out of this squad to face Pakistan, but we do see her as a Twenty20 bowler moving forwards. There is no reason why she can’t be an outstanding bowler across all formats of the game, and we feel that there’s a window now where we can do some focussed technical work with her away from match situations to help get her ready to perform at her best in the Kia Super League next month.”
England women’s NatWest IT20 series against Pakistan gets underway on Sunday (3rd July) at the Brightside Ground, Bristol. The second and third matches of the series will be played on Tuesday 5th and Thursday 7th July at the Ageas Bowl and Essex County Ground in Chelmsford.
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