The ECB has appointed Heather Knight as captain of the England women's team in all three formats. Knight takes over from Charlotte Edwards, who announced her international retirement in May. Her first assignment as captain is the home ODI and T20 series against Pakistan, which begins on June 20.
Knight, a right-hand batsman who also bowls offspin, has played five Tests, 55 ODIs and 33 T20Is since her international debut in 2010. She was Edwards' vice-captain from 2014 till the World T20 in March-April. She has captained Hobart Hurricanes in the Women's Big Bash League and is set to lead Western Storm in the inaugural Women's Super League T20 tournament in England.
"I'm hugely proud and honoured to be named England captain and can't wait to face the challenges ahead," Knight said. "It's a fresh, exciting time for the team and I'm looking forward to seeing how we can develop together at the start of this new era for England women's cricket. All our focus is now on what we have to come, starting with the Pakistan series this summer.
"It will be no easy task to follow the remarkable success and impact that Charlotte Edwards enjoyed at the helm of the England team over the last ten years - she has been a wonderful servant to the game, an inspirational leader and truly world-class player.
"She is a true cricketing legend and it has been a privilege to share a dressing room with her for the first six years of my England career. But I am excited by the challenge and will look to utilise the incredible platform that Lottie has laid to ensure that the England women's team continues to grow and develop."
With the retirements of Edwards and Lydia Greenway, plus the current unavailability of Sarah Taylor - who is not expected to be back for the Pakistan series - Knight will have a key role to play in the new-look batting order as well as the captaincy duties.
"It's a lot easier to captain when you are scoring runs and taking wickets," she said. "Of course there will be that pressure on me to step up, but the rest of the girls will help me. It's something I've dealt with before and think I've done okay with it.
"I'll always be one to try and lead from the front. By actions rather than words. I'll try to trust my players and create the environment where they can lead themselves."
Mark Robinson, the England head coach, described Knight as "stubborn" and said it was her single-mindedness which helped him make up his mind that she would be the correct appointment. He also confirmed that Knight would have a "major" role in selection.
"We have an outstanding individual in Heather who is stubborn, she has her own opinion which is absolutely how it should be, she's comfortable in her own skin and they are great qualities for a captain," he said. "She is a very good player now but has the potential to be outstanding. There's something a little bit different about her and that's what you want captains to be. The ability to command a room."
Robinson also defended the decision to remove Edwards as captain and tell her she wasn't in his plans for the season ahead which ultimately led her to retire from international cricket. He was in no doubt that Edwards would have still scored runs in the upcoming series against Pakistan then Sri Lanka but believed the team would not have learned anything new ahead of the World Cup in England next year.
"The easy thing is to do nothing. I love Lottie, you can't help but love Lottie, and you know you will get a lot of flack - it won't be a popular decision," he said. "That was maybe a reason not to have done something but I wouldn't have been true to myself. I would have been hiding. We had to give Heather and the team the best chance of growing into a World Cup.
"But it's not even about the next World Cup, that might be too soon for this team. It might not be, we will certainly have the ambition to win it, but it's about putting things in place to give the team the best chance of long-term success. We have to stop making short-term decisions."