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Jack of all trades

Posted in England Women

Jack Birkenshaw

Jack Birkenshaw is assistant coach to the England women's team

South Africa probably are not the strongest team in the world in the women’s game, however they do have some very talented players, like their captain Cri-Zelda Brits.

It's just a matter of giving those players and the team as a whole more coaching, funding and thought to turn them into a cricketing nation that can compete on the world stage in women’s cricket.

England are a side that are improving with every game. They did everything they had to do to win the series against South Africa. Fielding is key to our game and it’s improving with every training session that we have.

The girls are fitter, they’re training harder and enjoying playing together. Most importantly they have a lot of passion for the game, which is necessary for them to be successful.

It’s so difficult for us to pick a side at the moment because of the standard of players that we’ve got in our squad. Everyone’s playing so well and really enjoying themselves when they play which makes mine and Laney’s [Mark Lane] job really hard. Also, they’re playing so well, having fun and they’re not injured which is fantastic, so we’ve always got a fully fit squad to pick from which is what every coach wants.

We need India to play really well in this series and put pressure on us in order for us to see how good we really are. That would also give us great preparation ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup in Australia in March and the ICC World Twenty20 over here in June next year.

We want them to play really well to make it hard for us and to test us. That way we’ll know what we’ve got to do to improve our game so we can compete with and prepare ourselves for the likes of New Zealand and Australia who will provide a really tough challenge in both competitions.

Mark and myself have asked the team for contributions from more and more people and this is something that is starting to happen. Jenny Gunn took three wickets at Bath, the two spinners Holly [Colvin] and Laura [Marsh] are bowling well and Caroline Atkins is doing well too, so we’re now getting contributions from everyone and not just the experienced members of the team like Lottie [Charlotte Edwards], Claire [Taylor] and Isa [Guha].

It’s been a good start against India, we just need to see it through and perform well in our remaining games to take the series.