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Birkenshaw bolsters England women

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Jack Birkenshaw

Jack Birkenshaw joins up with England women again

Jack Birkenshaw has joined England women as assistant coach until July 2009.

The former England, Leicestershire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire all-rounder will work alongside head coach Mark Lane on a permanent basis, having steered the England team together to a historic Ashes win in Australia in February to retain the Ashes won on home soil in 2005.

The pair enjoyed further success in New Zealand in March, sealing a 3-1 one-day series victory.

Birkenshaw, 67, brings huge experience to the women’s game, having played for England in five Tests and in county cricket for 24 years, from 1957 to 1981.

His finest performance in an England shirt came took 5-57 in the 1972-73 MCC tour of Pakistan, where he and fellow spinner Norman Gifford shared 10 wickets to dismiss Pakistan for 199 at Karachi.

Birkenshaw, a former off-spinner, will help Lane in all areas of coaching, but specifically will aid England’s spinners in their quest for Ashes and ICC World Twenty20 glory in 2009.

In addition to a hugely successful first-class career, Birkenshaw has enjoyed a rewarding career as an umpire including officiating in Tests and ODIs.

Birkenshaw has extensive coaching experience including a stint as head coach of Leicestershire, and pre-season work with the spinners at Durham and Northamptonshire.

He also works with the ECB pitch inspection team and is a member of the ECB Performance Team on the Spin Skills Sets at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough.

“I enjoyed coaching the England women over the winter, and many of the players are making great progress,” Birkenshaw said.

“I am very proud to be part of their recent success and am sure we can get even better this summer. They are a great group to work with and are very talented cricketers."

Speaking on his appointment, ECB head of women’s cricket and former captain Clare Connor said: “To attract someone of Jack’s calibrr is an absolute coup for the women’s game.

“We are all delighted to welcome Jack on board and confident that, with Mark, this is the coaching team to bring Charlotte Edwards and her squad even more success in the next 12 months.

“Whilst we have always used many specialist coaches with our elite players, we have never had an Assistant Coach working with the players on a weekly basis and to tour with them.

“Attracting Jack to the position shows how much progress the women’s game has made in terms of profile and professionalism.”

Birkenshaw joins the team as they prepare for the five-match NatWest ODI Series against South Africa, which starts on August 6.

The five-match NatWest ODI Series against India includes a televised Twenty20 international at Somerset CCC, the home of women’s cricket.