Birch named England captain for Twenty20s
Rosalie Birch has been named as England's captain in their Twenty20 curtain raisers later this month. The women will play an Invitational XI ahead of men's domestic Twenty20s at Taunton on June 24, and then Taunton two days later. Charlotte Edwards, the usual captain, has been ruled out following a knee operation.
It's the second lead role Birch has taken in the last few weeks, after also being promoted to Super 4s captain of the Sapphires, replacing the retired Laura Newton. Is this a hint from the England selectors that she could be considered for the vice-captain vacancy, a position vacated by Newton?
She certainly hopes so - and her goals stretch even further. "To lead my country is my greatest ambition," she told Cricinfo, "and I hope to impress for the future."
The matches, then, are a big opportunity for her. "To be asked to captain the England side in our showcase Twenty 20 matches is a great honour.
"It should be awesome to be part of a men's Twenty20 day and I am very much looking forward to the challenge of captaincy. I am very excited to be skippering such a talented side in what should be two high profile games."
The other Super 4s captains are Gill Richards, a fringe England player, Nicki Shaw and Alexia Walker. Caroline Atkins was the England captain in their match against Hoddesdon men - and she rose to the occasion with a topscore of 53 in a losing cause.
"I have captained The Braves (who became the Rubies) at Super 4s when Connie (Clare Connor) was injured, and I am currently Brighton and Hove captain," Birch added. "Unfortunately in recent years I haven't had a look in what with being in the same team as the captain Connor, but I have learnt a lot from her and Lottie (Edwards)."
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo