Connor backing for strategic plan
England captain Clare Connor believes the ECB’s strategic plan for cricket will help build on the progress that has been made in the women’s game in recent years.
Connor attended the launch of the blueprint for English cricket - Building Partnerships - at Featherstone High School in London and knows all about how increased funding has helped England compete at the highest level.
She has just returned from the World Cup in South Africa, where she guided England to the semi-finals, and will again lead the way against their conquerors Australia this summer.
With the strategic plan focusing on community cricket and the England teams in all forms of the game, Connor believes the future is bright for women’s cricket.
She told ecb.co.uk: “I think the strategic plan is very committed to the continued development of the women’s game in schools and clubs and also at the highest level with our domestic game with Super Fours.
“The strategic plan gives backing to women’s cricket and we’ve got the ongoing support of the Lottery and Sport England, which has been crucial to getting to where we are over the last few years.”
England went into the World Cup on the back of four successive series wins which saw them climb to second in the women’s world rankings and the new proposals for the game are designed to build on that progress.
ECB chief executive David Collier explained: "We have made substantive improvements but you can always improve further and that's what we're trying to do.
“We're trying to be the best in the world both on and off the field and the best in the world at all levels, whether that be women's cricket, disabilities cricket, men's cricket or boys cricket. I believe that this plan will take us to those goals."
The importance of funding for the England team was highlighted in South Africa when Connor’s side displayed the benefits of extra coaching sessions at the National Academy in Loughborough, which will be expanded and become known as the National Cricket Centre.
Regular training camps have allowed England to focus on all areas of their game, and they were undoubtedly the best fielding side at the World Cup thanks to coaching sessions with Trevor Penney at the Academy.
Connor commented: “We set our stall out to be the best fielding side in the world and I really think we achieved that, even though we didn’t win the World Cup.
“People were all commenting round the boundary that we were the best fielding side on show. All the hard work at the Academy, with all the burns from diving around doing Trevor Penney’s drills, have obviously paid off.
“You’ve got the likes of Arran Brindle fielding at point who probably put a claim in to be the best fielder at the World Cup. We’ve made massive strides there but we’re disappointed that it wasn’t enough to get us into the final.”
England’s last World Cup win came in 1993 and there is a feeling amongst the older players who remain in the squad that the success on home soil was not built upon.
The strategic plan, named Building Partnerships, should ensure any future success helps inspire a new generation of heroes and Connor hopes that will be the case when England face Australia in the NatWest Women’s Series, starting at Cheltenham on August 15.
She said: “The World Cup win in 1993 was incredible, it was watched by thousands of people live on the BBC in front of a large crowd at Lord’s and it was a shame that that wasn’t made more of because of the change in administration in women’s cricket.
“The girls had about six weeks where they were in London all the time attending all sorts of awards dinners and that sort of thing but it didn’t become more than that.
“Everything is in place now for us to move on and we’ve got a chance to wreak a bit of revenge on the Aussies when they come over to play us in August and I genuinely think over a five-match series we will push them and compete.
“That’s the positive way we move forward after the disappointment of not getting to the World Cup final.”