England excited to jump into the unknown with South Africa Test, says Lisa Keightley

The Test retirements of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole have forced England into the unknown, head coach Lisa Keightley has admitted.

Brunt has chosen to focus solely on white-ball cricket in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, while Shrubsole called time on her 14-year international career after England’s defeat in the World Cup final in April.

The squad was announced yesterday and could see as many as five Test debutants when Keightley’s team take on South Africa in a four-day Test at Taunton beginning on 27 June.

That forms the first part of a multi-format series against the Proteas, with three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s to follow, and the coach is intrigued to see how a new era plays out.

“It was over 10 years of them [Brunt and Shrubsole] having the ball and doing what they do,” Keightley said.

“Throughout that journey, they’ve both had their ups and downs in form and in peaks and troughs, but generally they were very consistent and you know what you’re going to get.

“And I suppose we don’t have that. We don’t know what we’re going to get, but that brings excitement and that brings new opportunities.

“It’s the end of an era and we need to create a new one and see which players are going to stick their hand up and lead the way with the ball. Our hand’s been forced and we’ll wait and see how it goes.”

Lisa Keightley has named a new-look England squad for the Test against South Africa

Emily Arlott and Lauren Bell are two of the new faces who could lead the seam attack, while batter Emma Lamb is also in line for a debut cap and is likely to open the batting alongside Tammy Beaumont with England still struggling to nail down an opening pairing across the formats.

While the retirements of Shrubsole and Brunt have forced England to make changes, Keightley was also keen to learn from the past, including managing the workload of Sophie Ecclestone after the world’s top spinner bowled 64 overs in the India Test last year.

England failed to win a game in the Women’s Ashes prior to making the World Cup final after losing their first three group games before ultimately succumbing to Australia in the showpiece.

And Keightley hopes her side have grown in character from a tough winter.

England suffered defeat in the World Cup final earlier this year

She added: “I think they rode the highs and lows, we had two massive tours. We were away for a hell of a long time and tours that we’ve never experienced being away for that time and playing two massive events back-to-back.

“Resilience I reckon is probably one that comes to the forefront and two, I suppose being around and in team meetings, talking about different teams and learning.

“I think all of the players that have been in and around, the growth from having the experience of listening to team meetings and coming up against different teams.

“So, I have no doubt that hopefully they’ve listened pretty well and when they go out, they can execute the plans and go about enjoying their cricket.”

Keightley has also selected an England A squad who will play a three-day match against South Africa from 21 June as South Africa prepare for their first Test since 2014.

England: Heather Knight (captain), Emily Arlott, Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Kate Cross, Alice Davidson-Richards, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Amy Jones, Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver (vice-captain)

England A: Georgia Elwiss (captain), Maia Bouchier, Danni Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Freya Kemp, Eve Jones, Ella McCaughan, Kalea Moore, Tara Norris, Grace Potts, Grace Scrivens, Alexa Stonehouse, Mady Villiers, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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