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England must block out disruption

England women must not let their Australia tour be affected by their head coach's sudden departure

Jenny Roesler
Jenny Thompson
England's Australia tour was rocked on Friday with the sudden news that their head coach was leaving with immediate effect. They had already suffered from losing their assistant coach Vince Wells before tour, also for personal reasons. Mark Lane was called up to take that support role and now finds himself in the main job for the rest of this tour and then in New Zealand.
While personal reasons can't be helped, the timing is far from helpful. The crucial one-day series is finely poised at 1-1 with two one-dayers left after England took the opener to register the first win on Australian soil since 1988. This is a vital tour for the young group, many of whom are touring the tough Australia for the first time, as it is their chance to get accustomed to conditions prior to next year's World Cup which is in New South Wales.
They have already lost their vice-captain and one head coach (Richard Bates, who has gone to New South Wales women) within a year, and Dobson has gone just eight months after signing on. Now they are left with coach only - another replacement assistant will not fly out.
While the disruption cannot help, that position was something of a bonus anyway as this was the first time the women had had one on tour. This could also be character-building for the side who will have to learn to work with Lane quickly before the crucial final games and the one-off Ashes Test and then New Zealand.
The England management will now have to go through the process of recruiting for Dobson's replacement. It was an arduous process first time around, but Lane must be the front-runner, if he is interested. He has plenty of good experience, having been the successful Claire Taylor's one-to-one coach for years. He is also a Surrey coach, and has worked with Kenya's men.
Nothing will be decided until the tour has ended in March, when the women return from New Zealand. "It's all happened in the last 24 hours," an ECB spokesperson told Cricinfo. "We have an acting head coach in Mark Lane and the rest will be decided when we get home."

Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo