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May 14, 2007
England need a new vice-captain - and it's nothing to do with a pedalo. Laura Newton has stepped down from the role after a decade playing international cricket. But she's left some big shoes to fill, and there's no obvious candidate as a replacement.
The ECB do have some time to scratch their heads, though, as it's likely that the new vice-captain will be appointed only after the new coach is in place. Interviews for Richard Bates's successor are being held at the end of May, with a view to having someone starting in mid-July. Cathryn Fitzpatrick, among others, has applied.
Claire Taylor has some claims for the vice-captaincy. Although she's 31, she has ambitions to play until at least the next World Cup - which is in early 2009 - and has the experience, including that cracking century at Lord's last year, and advice aplenty to dish out. At 34, Jane Smit is likely to be too old to be in contention, although she, too, has no plans to retire any time soon.
But if England are looking for a future captain, then there are just four regulars who stand out as Charlotte Edwards's would-be successor. The ECB could opt for Beth Morgan, the 25-year-old allrounder; if not, then they have a choice between three 21-year-olds - Isa Guha, Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt.
Guha has 40 ODIs to her name, Gunn has 39, and both have played six Tests. Brunt has played only 13 ODIs, and five Tests, but was shortlisted for the ICC Female International of the Year prize and counts Fitzpatrick as one of her admirers.
Of the other regulars, Holly Colvin and Sarah Taylor, both 18, are probably just too young to be in contention.
Arran Brindle was in the running to be vice-captain last time around, when Newton was appointed following Charlotte Edwards stepping up to be captain. But, having chosen to take a break from England duties, she is no longer in contention. She now captains men's team Lough, the first time a female has captained a premier team in the Lincolnshire league.
She told Cricinfo that while the men's cricket was going well - she has led the side, which includes her husband, to three wins out of four - she would not be interested in rejoining England in the foreseeable future. "Well, never say never. But captaining the men's side is a massive challenge, it's very enjoyable, and I'm giving it everything."
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