Jack Birkenshaw has been named Mark Lane's deputy as England women's assistant coach, a post he will hold until July 2009. Birkenshaw, the former England spinner and head coach at Leicestershire, will work with Lane on a permanent basis having helped steer them to an historic Ashes win in Australia in February.
He brings huge experience to the women's game, having played for Test cricket as well as representing Leicestershire, Worcestershire and his native Yorkshire. He will assist in all areas of coaching, but with a specific focus on England's spinners once more.
He is looking forward to his latest challenge. "I enjoyed coaching the England women over the winter, and many of the players are making great progress," he said. "I am very proud to be part of their recent success and am sure we can get even better this summer. They are a great group to work with and are very talented cricketers".
Clare Connor, the ECB's head of women's cricket, added: "To attract someone of Jack's calibre is an absolute coup for the women's game. We are all delighted to welcome Jack on board and confident that, with Mark, this is the coaching team to bring Charlotte Edwards and her squad even more success in the next 12 months. Whilst we have always used many specialist coaches with our elite players, we have never had an assistant coach working with the players on a weekly basis and to tour with them." Even though England had an assistant coach this winter, this was only under a temporary contract.
Connor also confirmed to Cricinfo the obligations of Vince Wells, who was forced to pull out of the Australasia tour because of personal reasons. "Vince Wells' role this summer is to coach the Emeralds in our Super 4s competition," Connor said. "He will then be used by Mark as one of the four coaches who work with the players at England training camps throughout the winter. "
Birkenshaw joins in time for the five-ODI series against South Africa, which starts on August 6 and includes a match at Lord's on August 8. England also host India this summer.