Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Rainford-Brent picks her favorites for England coaching job

Ebony Rainford-Brent has named Salliann Beams and Jonathan Batty as top candidates to take over as England women’s head coach and help the team win against rivals Australia.

Lisa Keightley left the company last month after two and a half years on the job after deciding not to sign a new contract.

Rainford-Brent believes Keightley is leaving with her head held high after overseeing the introduction of a host of fresh blood including Alice Capsey, Sophia Dunkley, Freya Kemp, Lauren Bell and Charlie Dean, but the Aussie largely failed to break away at the dominance of her countrymen during her reign.

With a home Ashes just eight months away, this is the top priority for her successor and World Cup winner Rainford-Brent has two possible options in mind.

Former England international Beams is well respected Down Under, having coached the Hobart Hurricanes of the WBBL for four years and is currently a high performance manager at Cricket Tasmania. Meanwhile, Batty, who made his name as a wicketkeeper at Surrey, has created back-to-back titles for Oval Invincibles in the women’s edition of The Hundred.

“Lisa is a massive loss, she has been a real asset as England coach and she has given young players freedom by empowering them. She leaves behind a strong English team and a good culture,” Rainford-Brent told the PA news agency.

“Salliann was in Australia for a long time and it felt like she was losing talent when she left. But it means she’s immersed in their mindset and culture and has a real understanding of how they play their cricket.

“The win against Australia is more about the mental side than tactics or game plans. I’m also fascinated by Jon, he’s won two trophies in The Hundred and he’s played top-flight men’s cricket. He has a killer instinct. I hope they both give their names because we need someone strong to bring these Aussies down.”

Rainford-Brent, who became the first black woman to play for England in 2001, spoke at the unveiling of the LV= Insurance Media Diversity Grant. Shubi Arun, a 24-year-old student from London, has been selected to do a five-month fully-paid internship in cricket media next summer.

Rainford-Brent has worked extensively to expand the demographic of those who play the professional game through her involvement with the ACE program, and welcomes similar efforts on the other side of the ropes.

“This award is exactly what our games need to see, it helps see the game from different angles and opening that door has a massive impact,” she said.

“It’s great to see people representing you and involved in the game. I hear these stories every day through ACE, kids as young as eight, telling you how it feels to see someone like them means so much.

“Sport must represent the entire melting pot of society.”

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