Eng Women vs SA Women, Test match, 2022

Nat Sciver admits it will be strange to play a Test match without Katherine Brunt in the England attack.

Brunt remains a key presence in the England women’s side ahead of their meeting with South Africa from Monday. After announcing her retirement from Tests last week, Brunt traveled to Taunton to continue her preparation for the white ball portion of the multi-format series and impart her knowledge on a group of relatively inexperienced tailors vying to fill the void. left by her and Anya. Shrubsole, who ended his international career after the World Cup in April.

Barely a month after celebrating his wedding to Brunt in an “incredible” ceremony, England vice-captain Sciver reflected on how his wife will be missed on the cricket pitch.

“It’s going to be different, really, really weird,” Sciver said. “When we go out on the pitch, it will be weird not to see her at the top of her mark or on the pitch. She obviously provided so much energy and passion to the team and was a great driver on the pitch. when we need counters.

“Being able to throw the ball to her when we need a wicket or something happens. She’s been that person for a very long time. It takes a lot of talent and courage and energy to be able to do that for us, so it will be exciting to see hopefully some of the youngsters trying to be that person for us.”

One of those hoping to be that person, dressmaker Emily Arlott, was ruled out of the game on Saturday after failing to shake off the aftermath of a recent Covid fight. This elevated Issy Wong, the 20-year-old traveling reserve express to part of the team.

Sciver would not reveal the playing XI until the morning of match day, but England head coach Lisa Keightley said last week that Wong’s workload would be carefully managed this summer. with a view to potentially offering him an international debut in white ball formats. .

That puts Lauren Bell, a great right-arm swing bowler, in the frame to make her international debut, with right-arm fast Freya Davies set to play her first Test after playing seven ODIs and 17 T20Is. Experienced Kate Cross is set to lead the tailoring attack while Sciver will also play a key role, although she said there are plans to reduce her workload slightly given an international season charged at home.

“There have been discussions that I hope I will play a little less,” she said. “That’s where young people can come in, with their energy or to be able to give us overs.

“Obviously they’re inexperienced, but they’re very skilled and I think in terms of bowling shorter periods are probably the way to go. I think what we’ve seen in practice with the Dukes ball, the state of the ball changes quite quickly, so I think shorter periods can work for us.”

Sciver said the match would be played on a new pitch, which had been covered and uncovered during rain showers throughout Sunday. More rain was expected shortly before the draw, but showers are forecast throughout the four days of the match.

“It looks like a really good wicket,” Sciver said. “If we go into Taunton you can really cash in because the outfield is fast and the wicket is pretty true. I think there’s a bit of grass on it so we’ll have to take that into account in the draw .”

South Africa will be without pace setter Shabnim Ismail and left-arm spinner Chloe Tryon, who both played a test and are nursing calf and hip complaints respectively, along with another top-flight seamstress, Ayabonga Khaka, focusing instead on shorter formats.

That leaves the visitors set to field eight test debutants, with only Trisha Chetty, Lizelle Lee and Marizanne Kapp having played red ball cricket.

“Obviously we would have liked to have Aya, Shabnim and Chloe in our test team with the experience they bring and the skills they have, but we still have an amazing team,” Luus said.

“We’re coming off a great warm-up game where some of the young players really played and raised their hands, so I’m still really excited for the test game and to see what the new players can do, but I guess we’re all new players in a test match so it’s going to be something different for all of us.”

England (possible): Tammy Beaumont, Emma Lamb, Heather Knight (capt), Nat Sciver, Sophia Dunkley, Amy Jones (wk), Charlie Dean, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Freya Davies, Lauren Bell

South Africa (possible): Laura Wolvaardt, Andrie Steyn, Lara Goodall, Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus (capt), Anneke Bosch, Trisha Chetty (wk), Nadine De Klerk, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nonkululeko Mlaba

Valkerie Baynes is an editor at ESPNcricinfo

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