England Women have announced the white-ball squad for their tour of New Zealand. The England players participating in the Women's Premier League (WPL) 2024 will feature in the back end of the T20 International (T20I) series. The likes of Alice Capsey, Sophie Ecclestone, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Danielle Wyatt will join the squad for the last two matches, while Hollie Armitage and Linsey Smith will be part of the team for the first two games.
England captain Heather Knight (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and pacer Lauren Bell (UP Warriorz) have already withdrawn from the WPL to be available for all the matches. The series gets underway on March 19 - two days after the conclusion of WP, and will end on April 6.
England head coach, who also dons the same role with the UP Warriorz is expected to join his national side on March 12 and will miss UP's knockout matches if they get there. Assistant coach Ashley Noffke is expected to fill in for Lewis for the playoffs.
"The short window of just one or two days between the end of the WPL and the first IT20 in New Zealand has meant we have needed to balance the challenges of long-term workload management for players, allowing participation in the WPL and ensuring we give clarity to the group of players preparing for the first three IT20s," Jonathan Finch, director of England Women's cricket, said.
"As a result, we have named two IT20 squads, with the WPL players being available for the fourth and fifth matches of the series. All players participating in the WPL were given our backing to remain in India for the duration of the tournament. Lauren Bell and Heather Knight have withdrawn from the WPL to ensure they can be available for all IT20 games in New Zealand.
"They withdrew once they learnt that the WPL regulations don't allow for replacements mid-tournament, not wanting their respective WPL teams to be disadvantaged by their early departure," said Finch. "England Women head coach Jon Lewis will leave the WPL early to lead the squad preparations in New Zealand."
Head coach Lewis added, "This tour is another important step in our build-up to the IT20 World Cup in Bangladesh later this year. We're delighted to bring in Hollie Armitage and Linsey Smith to the IT20 group. I have been really impressed with Hollie across the course of last summer, especially over The Hundred, which I think is a really good indicator of how she might play at the next level. On the England A tour to India in November, I thought she was a standout performer in terms of the role she can play in the England side.
"Linsey has been performing for a long period of time at a high level and gives us a high quality left-arm spin option. With Sophie Ecclestone unavailable for the first three IT20 matches, Linsey is, in my opinion, the second best left-arm spinner in the country in T20 format. She has recently been to the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) and Super Smash in New Zealand, where she has enhanced her skills and played a lot of cricket.
"Both selections give us an opportunity to test our depth and develop a wider playing group capable of delivering on the international stage across a very congested and demanding schedule in 2024/25," said Lewis. "Over the years, New Zealand have always been a strong opponent, and we look forward to the challenge of adapting to new conditions and playing entertaining cricket. We are looking to build on the successes we had in 2023 and help in growing the women's game in New Zealand and at home."
England Women T20I squad (first three matches): Hollie Armitage, Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Lauren Filer, Danielle Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Bess Heath, Amy Jones, Heather Knight (c), Linsey Smith.
England Women T20I squad (last two matches): Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Alice Capsey, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Filer, Danielle Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Bess Heath, Amy Jones, Heather Knight (c), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt.
England Women ODI squad: Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Filer, Danielle Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Bess Heath, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt
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