England's squad for the #WT20 has been announced, and one thing is clear - it is not the squad the selectors would have wanted to send in an ideal world. Retirements, injuries and loss of form, have taken a big toll on the management's long-term plans; and eyebrows were certainly raised in my vicinity when Clare Connor said "We have opted for a mix of proven international performers... alongside exciting fresh talents."
If you'd asked the coaches six months ago to name an XI for this tournament, it would likely have included not only the injured trio of Marsh, Brunt and Farrant; but also the now-retired duo of Colvin and Brindle.
Having been aware for some weeks that Marsh had been ruled out, the major loss for me is actually Natasha Farrant, who isn't fast or fearsome, but is very accurate and tough to take runs from. (Though I did also half-anticipate her absence in view of her impending A-levels which (pro contracts or not) are arguably more important that a T20 World Cup.)
The other big talking-points are Winfield and Wyatt, who have both been dropped.
I think Loz Winfield can count herself rather unlucky. She seems to have been dropped on the grounds that she got a duck in the final T20 in Australia - her one real opportunity on that tour; and Tammy Beaumont had a good 'A' tour of Sri Lanka. But ducks happen - ask Sarah Taylor about the last World Cup in India! (Actually... don't!) And ducks happen more often when you pile on the pressure by giving a player just one game to prove herself. Plus you'd have to imagine that Winfield would have got runs in Sri Lanka too had she gone on that trip.
As for Danni Wyatt, it seems the selectors have finally accepted reality - she is having significant issues with her bowling action, and just isn't scoring enough runs to be selected at this level as a specialist batsman. Her problem batting-wise is one as old as the game itself - a natural ability to smash county-level bowlers all over the park tends towards a 'slog everything' mentality which gets found-out at the highest level.
Where I do feel sorry for Wyatt is what happens now? Going back to county isn't going to help much in either department - if (as I suspect) she needs to remodel her bowling action, that isn't going to happen outside the England setup; but you'd have to question whether those resources aren't better-directed at someone younger - leaving Wyatt's career on the brink. For someone who has made cricket her life, and put everything into the game, with (as I understand) no real backup plan, that's harsh. But it is a pro sport now... and pro sport is brutal, I'm afraid.