Georgia Elwiss included in England squad for ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020

Geogia Elwiss in action. © Getty Images

In a surprise move, seam-bowling allrounder Georgia Elwiss has been included in England’s squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020. She replaces left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon who played a crucial role in the team’s campaign in the West Indies in 2018, from the squad that toured Malaysia late last year.

The allrounder returns to the shortest format having missed England’s tour of Malaysia. Elwiss strengthens an already solid-looking England pace contingent which will be led by Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole. The duo will be assisted by Kate Cross, young Freya Davies and Natalie Sciver, the other allround option.

“Georgia obviously covers two skill sets with the ball and with the bat,” Lisa Keightley, head coach of England, said of her inclusion in the squad. “Along with Natalie Sciver and Katherine Brunt as those allrounders within the team, that (her inclusion) would give us good balance (in the squad).”

“Georgia has also played in Australia at the WBBL and done really well out there. So, for me she was an important inclusion into our team to give us options and a known player who has got experience out in Australian conditions. And her variations will come in handy out there with pace off.”

Elwiss’ selection follows a blueprint that most teams have followed – to pack their team with pace bowlers. Keightley admitted that was a major factor that influenced the decision to include her in the squad.

“We looked at what we had and I thought we had too many spinners than we need out in Australia. We’ve opted for a couple of seamers over some selection with spin,” explained the coach. “So there was a couple of spinners that were unlucky (to miss out). I suppose we were just more in line of the Australian conditions and going for a couple of seamers over the spin.”

Among the 15 member squad, Davies, Sarah Glenn and Mady Villiers will all be playing their first T20 World Cup.

Davies, the fast bowler, has proven her worth as a short format bowler through her performances in the Women’s Cricket Super League in England, where she bowled Western Storm to the title with her consistent performances.

Glenn, the leg-spinner, who made her debut against Pakistan in Malaysia, started her career remarkably with the ball, taking eight wickets in the ODIs, and four wickets in the T20Is. Through the series, she was often the bowler who triggered the downfall of Pakistan. She formed a lethal combination with Sophie Ecclestone, drying up the flow of runs and also consistently picking up wickets for England in the middle overs.

England's Sarah Glenn in action. © England Cricket/Twitter
England’s Sarah Glenn in action. © England Cricket/Twitter

Villiers, the off-spinner, has also made a smooth transition to the international stage. She made her debut in the third T20I in the Ashes and found success immediately by picking up two wickets in that game – both crucial in handing England their only victory of the series.

With a strong bowling attack at their disposal, England have also put together a powerful batting line up. Danielle Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Lauren Winfield, Sciver and Fran Wilson forming the core. Incidentally, all seven of them took part in the Women’s Big Bash League last year, performing admirably for their respective teams.

The tournament will also be Keightley’s first major assignment since being appointed head coach of England in October last year. While she had to miss the series against Pakistan – since she had to complete her stint with Perth Scorchers in the WBBL – the former Australia batter was able to spend time with the players in Malaysia and watch them train.

“It was very useful to join the group in Malaysia and watch how they were getting on and since then we’ve had a training block out in La Manga,” she said.

“There are few better feelings in cricket than representing your country in a World Cup and I know everyone’s really looking forward to the challenge.”

Runners-up of the 2018 edition, England, are placed in Group B alongside Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies and Thailand for this year’s T20 World Cup.

Ahead of the showpiece event, they will feature in a T20I tri-series involving Australia and India over in Australia.

Squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Amy Jones, Danielle Wyatt, Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Sophie Ecclestone, Freya Davies, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield, Sarah Glenn, Kate Cross, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson.