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Women’s Ashes 2023: Kate Cross in England Test squad after parasite illness

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Women’s Ashes 2023: Kate Cross in England Test squad after parasite illness
England’s most recent Test was a draw against South Africa in June 2022

Kate Cross has been named in England’s squad for the Ashes Test with Australia after recovering from illness.

The 31-year-old needed multiple rounds of antibiotics to treat a parasite infection.

Uncapped all-rounder Danielle Gibson and seamer Lauren Filer, both 22, have also been included in a 15-player squad for the four-day Test at Trent Bridge starting on 22 June.

Pace bowler Issy Wong, who missed the T20 World Cup in February, returns.

The Test – worth four points in the multi-format series – is followed by three T20s and three one-day internationals, which are worth two points each.

Short presentational grey line

England Test squad

Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Alice Davidson-Richards, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Filer, Danielle Gibson, Amy Jones, Heather Knight (captain), Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver-Brunt (vice-captain), Issy Wong, Danni Wyatt.

Short presentational grey line

Cross is England’s most senior bowler after Katherine Sciver-Brunt retired in May.

Lauren Bell is the other seam-bowling option alongside all-rounders Alice Davidson-Richards and Nat Sciver-Brunt.

Gibson, who was a travelling reserve in England’s T20 World Cup squad, is the leading wicket-taker and run-scorer for Western Storm in this season’s Charlotte Edwards Cup.

Wong made her debut in all three formats in 2022, but missed out on selection for the World Cup before impressing in the Women’s Premier League in India for champions Mumbai Indians.

Slow left-armer Sophie Ecclestone is the only spinner included as off-spinner Charlie Dean misses out, although Alice Capsey, Emma Lamb and Heather Knight are part-time options.

Lauren Winfield-Hill, who was recalled by England in December and has been in form for Northern Diamonds, has not been included in the Test squad but will captain England A in a warm-up match against Australia from 15-17 June.

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Davidson-Richards and batter Danni Wyatt will feature for England A, while the rest of the squad will face Australia A in a warm-up fixture on the same dates.

Questions remain around England’s bowling options

Analysis from BBC Sport cricket writer Ffion Wynne

The composition of the bowling attack was always going to be Jon Lewis’ most difficult task for the Ashes, especially after Katherine Sciver-Brunt’s retirement, and with Australia’s formidable top order boasting the likes of Beth Mooney, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and Tahlia McGrath.

Kate Cross has enough experience to seamlessly step up to lead the attack, and Sophie Ecclestone is the world’s best spinner, but there are question marks around the remaining places – especially given how little red-ball cricket is played.

Issy Wong had a brilliant tournament in India, but that was in T20, and she has not been at her best for Central Sparks domestically.

Lauren Bell’s ability to swing the ball probably gives her the edge, but it will be interesting to see whether Lewis opts for her experience, or Lauren Filer’s genuine pace – but perhaps sacrificing some control.

Danielle Gibson offers an all-round option, with pace, power-hitting and is one of the standout fielders in women’s cricket.

England also need to be wary of Ecclestone’s workload after the Test against India in 2021 saw her struggle with her shoulder – as she will undoubtedly play a key role in all three formats this summer.

Ashes schedule 2023

Test: 22-26 June, Trent Bridge

First T20: 1 July, Edgbaston

Second T20: 5 July, The Oval

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Third T20: 8 July, Lord’s

First ODI: 12 July, Bristol

Second ODI: 16 July, Ageas Bowl

Third ODI: 18 July, Taunton

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