England women name two uncapped players
England have named two uncapped players to face India. Sarah Taylor and Lynsey Askew are in line for their debuts against a strong Indian side, who were finalists in last year's World Cup and who beat England 4-1 in the winter.
Taylor is Sussex's wicketkeeper-batsman and she will challenge Jane Smit, 16 years her senior, for the gloves. It's no surprise that Taylor has been included in the squad; whispers of her inclusion have been circulating for a while and a strong showing at the recently concluded Super 4s tournament confirmed her selection.
Lightning-fast behind the stumps, Taylor has kept out Brighton College's male keeper in for a spot in their first team, for whom she plays with Holly Colvin, who has also made it into the line-up. Her inclusion will please Clare Connor, the former England captain and Head of PR at Brighton College, no end; Connor has been understandably championing Taylor's cause.
The other newcomer, Askew, also has the benefit of working alongside a prominent England figure. Askew is a medium pacer who plays under England's new captain, Charlotte Edwards, at Kent. Her inclusion came after she impressed the selectors at the Super 4s with an economy rate of 2.93.
The chairman of selectors, Michael Griggs, explained why Askew has been chosen: "Lynsey deserves her opportunity after consistent all-round performances this season."
Colvin has been retained in the squad after making a promising debut last summer when, as a last-minute call-up into the Ashes squad, she found herself on a hat-trick as England went on to win the trophy.
The batsman Caroline Atkins has also been retained. She toured India with England in the winter as a replacement for the injured Connor. And now Atkins fills a gaping hole left by Arran Brindle who recently announced that, at the age of just 24, she wants to take a career break to spend more time with her family. The fast bowler Nicki Shaw also keeps her place after she, too, was called to India - she replaced Katherine Brunt who had to fly home after injuring her hand.
England's series starts in August and they will play a Twenty20, five one-dayers and two Tests. The highlight of the summer will be a one-dayer at Lord's, the first match there for the women in five years.
If England's men are being organised in looking towards next year's World Cup, then the women are being ultra-efficient. Their head coach Richard Bates explained that this squad, the predictable blend of youth and experience, has been picked with one eye on the women's trophy, which won't be contested until 2009. "This squad includes some very talented youngsters," he said, "and we felt it was a good time to introduce them to the international scene ahead of an important quadrangular series and looking towards the World Cup."
England Charlotte Edwards (capt), Laura Newton, Lynsey Askew, Caroline Atkins, Rosalie Birch, Katherine Brunt, Holly Colvin, Isa Guha, Jenny Gunn, Beth Morgan, Nikki Shaw, Jane Smit, Claire Taylor, Sarah Taylor