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How do England replace Katherine Brunt & Anya Shrubsole? Should Lauren Bell be the ‘No 1 pick?’

Watch England Women’s Test against South Africa live on Sky Sports on Monday Lauren Bell, Issy Wong, Alice Davidson-Richards, Freya Davies and Emma Lamb hoping to make Test debuts at Taunton, with Sky Sports blogger Phoebe Graham saying Bell would be her ‘number one pick’

Last Updated: 26/06/22 2:01pm

Lauren Bell would be Phoebe Graham’s ‘No 1 pick’ for England’s Test against South Africa, which is live on Sky Sports from Monday

As England prepare for a Test match without Katherine Brunt and Anya Shubsole, North West Thunder player and Sky Sports blogger Phoebe Graham looks at how the great bowlers can be replaced…

​​​​​​Starting on Monday, England take on South Africa in a four-day Test and for the first time in over 10 years, Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole will not lead the attack.

Those two all-time greats have oodles of experience, knowledge and wickets, with the deadly combination of hooping in-swing (Shrubsole) and fast and fierce away swing (Brunt) giving opposition teams nightmares for over a decade.

England vs South Africa

June 27, 2022, 10:30am

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But with Shrubsole retiring from all international cricket and Brunt now focusing on white-ball cricket, England have big shoes to fill, so who will lead the attack?

There are five uncapped players in the 13-woman squad so there will definitely be at least three cap presentations on Monday, but who will England select?

Lauren Bell

The 6ft bowler, known as The Shard, impressed the England selectors in Australia earlier this year for the England A team. She had a phenomenal Hundred competition last year, taking 12 wickets for Southern Brave and proving she can handle the pressure and perform when the heat is on. Bell offers height and bounce and also swings the ball in, similar to her current Southern Vipers team-mate Shrubsole. She is my number one pick.

Issy Wong

Issy Wong (left) possesses real pace

Issy Wong (left) possesses real pace

Wong – who is new into the squad, following the absence of Emily Arlott out with the effects of Covid-19 – offers a slightly different opening-bowling option as she has that extra pace. Wong also moves the ball away and has had a good season, helping Central Sparks into the Charlotte Edwards Cup final. She brings a similar style and aggression to Brunt, too – but will England lead their attack with two debutants?

Freya Davies

Another bowling option for England, Davies has not played a Test yet but has been in and around the England team for a number of years, making 24 white-ball appearances. She has great variations and exceptional tactical knowledge. I hope England select out-and-out opening bowlers but Freya is still an exciting prospect.

Emma Lamb

Emma looks set to open the batting with Tammy Beaumont and that spot is fully warranted. As a team-mate of hers at North West Thunder, I know her work ethic, drive and determination have got her to where she deserves to be in the game. Test cricket presents a new challenge for Lamby so she will have to learn on the job but with her consistent performances domestically, I am certain she will be able to cope.

Alice Davidson-Richards (centre of picture) could make her first England appearance since 2018

Alice Davidson-Richards (centre of picture) could make her first England appearance since 2018

Alice Davidson-Richards

I played with ADR in The Hundred last year for Northern Superchargers and I know how much she loves the crowd and a big occasion and the crowd. Davidson-Richards returns to the England fold for the first time in four years, having played her only ODI and five T20Is in 2018 – but what a player she is. The professionalisation of the women’s game domestically has seen talented players get back to the top and ADR can offer England an all-round option, similar to the role Georgia Elwiss played in the past.

More women’s red-ball cricket needed

This is the new era of Test cricket for England Women and a huge opportunity for players to stand up and make their mark. I hope they make some bold choices. Good luck, girls.

England seamer Katherine Brunt has announced her retirement from Test cricket but will continue to play in the ODI and T20I formats

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England seamer Katherine Brunt has announced her retirement from Test cricket but will continue to play in the ODI and T20I formats

England seamer Katherine Brunt has announced her retirement from Test cricket but will continue to play in the ODI and T20I formats

It does feel like there are too many players learning on the job and we do need to play more red-ball cricket domestically as well on the international stage.

It was disappointing to hear ICC chair Greg Barclay say recently that he didn’t see women’s Test cricket being a huge part of the landscape. That is the pinnacle and we need more of it.

Watch the LV= Insurance Test between England and South Africa live on Sky Sports. Coverage begins at 10.30am on Monday on Sky Sports Mix with the first ball at 11am.



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