Ebony Rainford-Brent has named Salliann Beams and Jonathan Batty as the main candidates to take over as England women’s head coach and help the team conquer their Australian rivals.
Lisa Keightley left last month after two and a half years on the job after deciding not to pursue a new deal.
Rainford-Brent believes Keightley is leaving with his head held high after overseeing the introduction of a host of fresh blood including Alice Capsey, Sophia Dunkley, Freya Kemp, Lauren Bell and Charlie Dean, but the Aussie was largely unable to move away to the domination of his compatriots during his reign.
With an Ashes at home just eight months away, it’s top priority for successor and World Cup winner Rainford-Brent to have his eye on two possible options.
The former England international Beams is highly respected Down Under, where she spent four years coaching the Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL and is currently head of high performance at Cricket Tasmania. Meanwhile Batty, who made a name for himself as a wicketkeeper with Surrey, orchestrated back-to-back titles for Oval Invincibles in the women’s edition of The Hundred.
“Lisa is a huge loss, she was a real win as an England manager and she gave young players freedom by empowering them. She leaves behind a strong England team and a good culture,” he said. Rainford-Brent told the PA news agency.
“Salliann has been in Australia for a long time and it felt like a talent drain when she left. But that means she’s immersed in their mindset, their culture and has a real understanding of how they play in cricket.
“Beating Australia will be more about mentality than tactics or game plans. I’m also intrigued by Jon, he won two trophies in The Hundred and he played high quality men’s cricket. He has a killer instinct. I hope they both came up with their names because we will need someone strong to beat these Aussies.
Rainford-Brent, who was the first black woman to play for England in 2001, was speaking at the unveiling of the LV=Insurance Media Diversity Grant. Shub Arun, a 24-year-old student from London, has been selected to undertake a five-month fully paid cricket media internship next summer.
Rainford-Brent has worked extensively on broadening the demographics of those who play the game professionally through his involvement with the ACE program and welcomes similar efforts on the other side of the ropes.
“This award is exactly what our games need to see, it helps to see the game from different angles and opening that door has a huge impact,” she said.
“To see people representing you involved in the game is huge. I hear these stories every day through ACE, from kids as young as eight telling you what it’s like to see someone like them means so much.
“Sport must represent the whole crucible of society.”
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