Former England women's captain now the game's leader October 2, 2007

Connor to head up England women's cricket

Clare Connor: successful on the pitch; can she now be successful off it as head of England women's cricket? © Getty Images

Clare Connor has been appointed as the ECB head of women's cricket, replacing Gill McConway who has returned to her native New Zealand.

Connor, the former England captain who retired in 2006, will leave Brighton College, where she teaches English and PE, to take up the full-time position in January. Although now married, she will continue to be known as Connor professionally.

Like McConway before, her duties will include representing the ECB on the ICC women's committee. It promises to be a tough act to follow. McConway is responsible for such innovations as the Super Fours - which were credited with assisting in boosting England to No. 2 in the world - as well as finding the team a permanent home at Taunton and bringing about the deal for the team buses to be England-branded - an innovation which was taken on board by England men and the England boys' Under-19s.

Connor, at 31, is a young head, but she promises to be a successful one and brings with her some business experience as head of PR at Brighton College, a role that sits alongside teaching. She is also used to juggling stressful demands; for several years she played international cricket while a teacher. She also wrote for The Observer and spent three summers commentating for Channel 4.

Her in-depth knowledge of the game is an obvious asset. As captain, Connor has persistently lobbied the ECB with suggestions - for example contracts. She has previously said: "Why not say, 'Look, here's 25 grand. It's a proper contract. You are employed by the ECB. You are England cricketers.' " Now is her chance to continue lobbying for, and implementing, improvements for the women's game.

Her appointment was announced on the same day as Hugh Morris and Mike Gatting secured key roles with the ECB; Morris will be the new managing director of England men and Gatting's new job title will be Managing Director Cricket Partnerships.

The ECB's chief executive David Collier said: "I am delighted that Hugh, Mike and Clare have accepted these positions. Their experience as captain of their counties and England together with their knowledge of the Cricket Foundation, Chance to Shine, Club cricket and the Lord's and Lady Taverners will greatly strengthen the Cricket Department within ECB. "These appointments were recommended within the England Review and approved by the Board this summer."

Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor on Cricinfo