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News

Charlie Dean doubtful for England's tour opener against India

England captain Heather Knight says her team will have to adjust quickly to the bounce on offer at the Wankhede Stadium

S Sudarshanan
S Sudarshanan
05-Dec-2023
Charlie Dean has been down with a stomach bug  •  Getty Images

Charlie Dean has been down with a stomach bug  •  Getty Images

Offspinner Charlie Dean could be a significant absence in England's spin department for the opening women's T20I against India at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. She was the most recent player to go down with a stomach bug that had hit the England A camp during the three-T20I series against India A.
"Charlie Dean is the latest to go down and can take a little bit of time to recover from that," Heather Knight, the England captain, said on the eve of the match. "She is the only one that is in potential doubt. We have had a strict quarantine and transition period to come across to the England team [from the A side]. We'll see how she is [as the series progresses]."
Dean, left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, and legspinner Sarah Glenn are England's spin options, along with part-time offspinner Alice Capsey. Ecclestone is also coming back from a surgery, after dislocating her right shoulder while warming up for Manchester Originals' match against Southern Brave in the women's Hundred. She subsequently withdrew from the Women's Big Bash League and missed the white-ball home series against Sri Lanka.
Ecclestone was part of England's two-week camp in Oman before travelling to India. On the eve of the first T20I, she was seen spot-bowling - with one of England's assistant coaches observing her - before walking off. Knight said Ecclestone was tracking well.
"She is doing really well. She is back bowling," Knight said. "The bowling won't be an issue. Probably fielding, a bit nervousness … I have had injuries before, and it is always [about] getting over and trusting your body again. In the heat of the battle, Sophie will be doing that and should be able to get over that.
She has been tracking really well in training. She has been fielding, diving and things like that. We'll keep an eye on her as she is a key player for us."

Knight: Bounces more than you expect at Wankhede

Having had a first look at the conditions at the Wankhede Stadium during training on Monday, Knight said the extra bounce is something batters have to adjust to.
"The nets are here on the edge of the square, so it gives you a good indication of how the pitch is going to play," she said. "The thing with Wankhede is that it bounces more than you expect, which is different from Brabourne Stadium where we played a lot of WPL games, where it skids a little bit more. So it is about getting used to that.
"There was a little bit of turn on offer in the nets. But I expect the main wicket to not spin much. The outfield is quick as well."
India's home series against Australia last December, as well as the inaugural WPL, had huge crowds at the grounds in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Knight, who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, expected a similar turnout, and said as opposition players the key was to not lose focus.
"Sometimes you can feel like things are accelerating and a bit rushed actually, when there is crowd and you feel like the game is happening pretty quickly," she said. "We have talked a lot about trying to get our own pace with bat and ball, trying to maintain concentration in the moment and try to focus on what we want to do.
"Trying to silence the crowd will be tough. Watching the men's World Cup, you see the support and the passion the Indian fans have for India and having experienced that, it is hard thing to do to silence the crowd. Even if there is not many, they are usually very, very loud.
"It's little things like making sure you can communicate on the pitch around the noise as captain that is a little bit tricky. It's an amazing challenge and you want to play in front of huge crowds."

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo