Edwards hails healthy competition
England women captain Charlotte Edwards believes the healthy competition for places within the squad is bringing the best out of her players after a successful tour of South Africa.
England, without the injured Katherine Brunt for much of the trip and the retired Claire Taylor, whitewashed the Proteas in the three-match one-day series before being denied a clean sweep in the Twenty20 matches as two seven-wicket victories sandwiched a washout.
Edwards, Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle scored centuries and, in the bowling department, 37 wickets were shared between eight bowlers to highlight the positive contributions throughout the squad.
Opening batsman Edwards was delighted with the way her side performed and insists complacency will never be an issue.
“We came out here to win every game we played and we have done it, so it's really pleasing. It's more pleasing the way we have gone about it. That's been the most pleasing thing for us as a group. It's been a really successful trip,” she told ecb.co.uk.
“I think the good thing we have got within the side at the moment is a lot of competition for places so no-one will become complacent. Every time we put on an England shirt we are playing for our place because we know there is a really good squad of players around and, if we are not taking our opportunities as individuals, someone is keen to get your place off you.
“I think that's really shown on this trip and the fact that people have scored big hundreds and a lot of people have contributed to our success is good for us as a side at the moment.”
England handed Georgia Elwiss her ODI and T20 debuts during the trip and Edwards was keen to praise the 20-year-old for her efforts in testing conditions.
“Georgia got more opportunities than most. She did fantastically well because taking over opening the bowling from Katherine Brunt is quite a hard act to follow and I thought she did fantastically well on relatively flat pitches,” the 31-year-old said.
“She showed some really good signs and I was really pleased with her in the Twenty20 format with the way she came in and approached the game. Bowling in the first six (overs) is hard on debut and hard any time so she has shown some really good qualities.”
The impressive form shown by the top order, including two half-centuries from Sarah Taylor, who took over from her namesake Claire at number three, restricted youngsters Tammy Beaumont and Susie Rowe's chances of breaking into the team, but Edwards insists "their time will come".
“It's a shame our batting has been pretty strong on this trip and the likes of Tammy Beaumont and Susie Rowe haven't had the opportunities they would have liked but I think they will understand that it is really important that we are winning games of cricket and I guess at some point, their time will come,” she added.
“They have been doing the right things in training and putting pressure on the top order which is good.”
Edwards, who admitted she knew little about the South Africa team heading into the series, was surprised with how much they had improved in such a short time and thinks they will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
“I think they surprised me a little bit, especially in the ODIs. They really came out strong at us and they have really improved since we last played them. They are a young team that are only going to get better,” she said.
“In 18 months time come the World Cup, they are going to be a decent little outfit and a team we are going to have to be wary of.
“It's good that we have beaten them every game so we'll have confidence for the next time we play them, but it's good preperation for those World Cups that we face them in and obviously we have got some good knowledge on some of their players now. For us it's been a very beneficial tour.”
The tour did end, however, on a slightly sour note for Edwards who suffered a fractured left thumb whilst batting in the nets during a training session late in the trip.
Edwards said: ”It’s just one of those things and fortunately it didn’t stop me playing. We now have some time off so a good chance for it to fully recover.”
The injury is not expected to impact significantly on the England captain’s winter training or her preparation for the England women’s tour to New Zealand in February.