New England Women head coach Jon Lewis hopes playing exciting cricket can deliver World Cup and Ashes success.
The former Gloucestershire and England seamer has replaced Lisa Keightley in the role and will lead the side for the first time during a white-ball tour of the West Indies next month as England prepare for the T20 World Cup in South Africa in February.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Lewis said that “winning World Cups and winning the Ashes is why I am here. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do”.
England ODI squad
Heather Knight (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Alice Davidson-Richards, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Amy Jones, Freya Kemp, Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver, Danni Wyatt
England T20 squad
Heather Knight (captain), Lauren Bell, Katherine Brunt, Alice Capsey, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Freya Kemp, Nat Sciver, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Issy Wong, Danni Wyatt
England have finished runners-up three times in T20 World Cups since their victory on home soil in 2009, while they were beaten finalists in the most recent 50-over World Cup, in New Zealand earlier this year.
Lewis said of his new team: “Sometimes they’ve just played a little safe in pressure moments, so that’s the area I’m going to try and get through to the squad – play with freedom to express themselves, entertain and inspire.
“Can this team put bums on seats regularly not because it’s women’s sport, but because of how they play, the skill that they show, and the excitement they bring to a crowd?
“That obviously started with Eoin Morgan with the men’s white-ball team. I was fortunate enough to be around that. That’s obviously been carried on by Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.
“There’s something within this group of players that can actually inspire them to do something that’s a little bit special.
“There will be bumps along the road because when you’re trying to free people up and do things a little bit differently, there’s going to be moments where they don’t quite get it right. But that’s okay, that’s sport.
Lewis impressed by mix of youth and experience
“I think the team did a fantastic job in 2017 of doing that [when they won the 50-over World Cup]. Now we’re seeing the fruits of that with the young players that are coming into the game.”
Lewis said that players like Issy Wong are “blossoming into international cricketers”, adding: “That’s the knock-on effect of what happened in 2017.
“I’m excited to be able to try and replicate that, but also do it in an even bigger way, so we can carry on for a longer period and then dominate world cricket.
“The talent within the squad, the balance of youth and experience, there doesn’t feel like there’s a ceiling on what this team can achieve.
“Combine that with the explosion of the popularity of women’s sport, it’s probably gone from quite an embryonic stage five, 10 years ago to now becoming really mainstream.”
Taking care of mental health is a ‘big part of the job’
Lewis will be able to call on the returning Heather Knight and Nat Sciver in the Caribbean, with Knight fit again after hip surgery and Sciver back having taken time away from the game to prioritise her mental health.
Lewis said: “Playing cricket all year round, all the time, drains you. You get exhausted.
“Making sure I’m having good individual conversations with the players and getting a feel for it and understanding them personally will help me guide them and give them the information I think will help them play their best cricket for England.
“I think that’ll be one big part of the job moving forward. There are lots of new competitions coming in, a really full schedule for some of the players.
“It’s important for me to understand each individual what their needs are and how to adjust each individual’s programme as we go through the year.
“Keeping a handle on that will be a really big part of the job, but also something that’s new to a lot of these players and something that I’ve seen a lot of in the men’s game.”
England Women in West Indies
Sunday, December 4: First ODI, Antigua (6pm UK time)
Tuesday, December 6: Second ODI, Antigua (6pm UK time)
Friday, December 9: Third ODI, Antigua (6pm UK time)
Sunday, December 11: First IT20, Antigua (10pm UK time)
Wednesday, December 14: Second IT20, Barbados (10pm UK time)
Saturday, December 17: Third IT20, Barbados (10pm UK time)
Sunday, December 18: Fourth IT20, Barbados (10pm UK time)
Thursday, December 22: Fifth IT20, Barbados (10pm UK time)
Leave a Reply