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Five new faces as England Women begin new era of Test cricket

England begin planning for life beyond stalwarts Shrubsole and Brunt

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Heather Knight continued to add to her century, Australia vs England, Only Test, Women's Ashes, Canberra, January 29, 2022

Heather Knight will lead a new-look side against South Africa  •  Getty Images

England Women have named five potential debutants - Emily Arlott, Lauren Bell, Alice Davidson-Richards, Freya Davies and Emma Lamb - in a 13-strong squad for next week's Test against South Africa.
In naming the quintet, England have dipped in to the talent pool they believe has expanded with the greater professionalisation of the Women's game in England and Wales in recent years. They are also planning for a future beyond veteran seam bowlers Anya Shrubsole, who retired from international cricket after England finished runners-up at the World Cup in April, and Katherine Brunt, who last week announced that she had played her last Test, although she remains available for selection in other formats.
The Test against South Africa, from June 27-30 in Taunton, forms the first part of a multi-format series which also includes three ODIs and three T20Is in July.
Issy Wong, the 20-year-old fast bowler, has been named in the 13 as a travelling reserve as she continues her development while also managing her workload.
Right-arm seamer Arlott first came into international consideration a year ago when she was selected in the squad for England's home Test against India on the back of a quadruple-wicket maiden in a five-wicket haul for Central Sparks in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
Bell, a tall right-arm swing bowler, has been impressive on the domestic circuit for some time, including her 3 for 12 for Southern Vipers against Lightning in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.
Right-arm quick Davies has played seven ODIs and 17 T20Is and played a part in England's Ashes and World Cup campaigns earlier this year.
Davidson-Richards returns to the England fold for the first time in four years, having played her only ODI in India in April 2018 and her five T20Is the previous month while fellow allrounder Lamb made her international debut last summer, playing her only T20I against New Zealand in September before making two ODI appearances, during this year's Ashes and World Cup.
With Lauren Winfield-Hill overlooked for the Test squad and instead named in a 16-player England Women's A squad for a three-day fixture against South Africa at Arundel from June 21, Lamb looks the most likely to partner Tammy Beaumont at the top of the order, having filled that role once during the Ashes.
Danni Wyatt, who has also opened with Beaumont in white-ball formats, has never played a Test and was also named in the A squad, which will be captained by Georgia Elwiss with John Stanworth as head coach. Nine of those selected in the A squad are yet play international cricket.
Lisa Keightley, England Women's head coach, expects the newcomers to inject "energy and enthusiasm" into the Test squad.
"We're at the beginning of a new ICC Women's Championship cycle, which starts for us with the India ODIs [in September], and it's natural that we're looking forward with one eye on who may be a key player for us come 2025," Keightley said.
"Similarly with Katherine Brunt retired from Test cricket and Anya Shrubsole from all forms of the international game, a number of bowling spots have opened up which is hugely exciting for those players. I'm sure they'll all be very keen to grab their opportunity.
"We have to balance having the appropriate back-up for the senior squad while also giving playing opportunities. We need our players to play as much cricket as possible, which is why we have a deliberately small Test squad while the England Women's A team are in action against South Africa. It really is a massive summer, with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, and we can't wait to get started with the red ball in Taunton."
England Women A: Georgia Elwiss (capt), Maia Bouchier, Danni Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Freya Kemp, Eve Jones, Ella McCaughan, Kalea Moore, Tara Norris, Grace Potts, Grace Scrivens, Alexa Stonehouse, Mady Villiers, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo