Thursday, 16 January 2014

England Face Cross \ Brunt Dilemma in #WomensAshes

Martin Davies over at WCB expects England to go into next week's ODIs with an unchanged team.

I'm not so sure!

Taking 6 points from the Test was obviously a massive achievement, and they say you shouldn't change a winning team; but England's selectors have got to be concerned about a batting-order which collapsed to 32/3 in the first innings and 10/3 in the second.

The obvious solution would be to bring in an all-rounder -  Wyatt or (more likely) Elwiss - in place of a bowler; but this leaves the selectors with a massive headache. Assuming she is fit, Shrubsole will play, there's no doubt about that; but who do you drop between Brunt and Cross?

Katherine Brunt has led England's attack into battle on over 100 occasions; but right now, Katie Cross is in the sort of form that just can't be ignored, while Brunt had a pretty so-so Test match, even if you ignore the first-innings "red card".

It is a tough call to make though; and things only get more complicated for the selectors, because in theory Cross is going home for the T20 leg of the series, to be replaced by Tash Farrant, who is on the plane to Australia as I write.

I understand that there is nothing in the rules to prevent Cross staying on, despite not being named in the original squad; and there is a precedent for this - Heather Knight was not selected originally for the T20s last summer, but stayed on and played anyway.

(Cross probably won't thank me for mentioning this though - Knight's T20 jaunt culminated in a season-ending injury, which had her hobbling around on crutches for several months afterwards.)

My personal opinion is that Cross should play and stay. It is hard on Brunt, but that's top level sport - Cross seized a chance that I'll admit I didn't think she'd get, and she deserves a chance to finish the job she started in the Test of retaining those Women's Ashes.


  1. I'd be surprised if they didn't select the Test XI for the ODIs.
    Winfield would have to displace Knight to open but I think 2 failures in the Test won't cause a change here yet.
    Jones would have to displace Squirt to keep. Not likely.
    I guess its then pick 3 bowlers from 5 (DH, DW, KB, KC & GE) depending on the pitch. Need 2 spinners and Wyatt replaces, well, yes could be Brunt. Need 3 seamers and it'll KB & KC (& AS of course). Tough on 'G' because she can bat.
    If Lottie has anything to do with it, it'll be hard nosed decision making. Emotion won't come into it.

    I would think they would only keep Cross into the T20 series if she gets picked for the ODIs and plays well (might also depend whether The Ashes are still at stake). Not only did Heather get injured in the T20 series but she didn't score many runs (13,2,0) either so not a good precedence.

  2. All in favour of hard-nosed decision-making here!

    Someone on Twitter pointed out that another reason to keep Cross would be the (historically quite high?) risk of either KB or AS getting injured at some point.

  3. Given Brunt missed this ODI because of a lower back problem I think you may have a point.


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