Lancashire Thunder ready for Kia Super League
Lancashire Thunder are in confident mood on the eve of the inaugural Kia Women’s Super League, which starts for them against Heather Knight’s Western Storm at Taunton on Sunday.
Sarah Taylor is set to take part in what they hope will be a successful campaign in an informal non-playing capacity as she continues her recovery from anxiety and panic attacks.
Taylor has already been around the squad inside in the last 10 days helping the players prepare. She was present for a warm-up game at Blackpool last Wednesday, not only helping young keeper Ellie Threlkeld but also her replacement as captain, the New Zealand international Amy Satterthwaite.
“We can’t wait to get going now,” said the Thunder general manager Bobby Cross.
“It’s exciting, and we are just looking forward to getting into the competition. It’s such a short competition that it’s important we try and start well.
“Whoever does start well will probably find themselves quite difficult to catch with there just being the five group games and then Finals Day.”
“Western Storm, (England captain) Heather Knight’s team, will be strong.
“It won’t be easy going down to Taunton, although the girls have played quite a lot there over the years because it seems to be one of the bases for women’s cricket. It will be a difficult challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Cross, the brother of Thunder and England seamer Kate, admitted that Taylor’s non-participation, which was announced earlier this month, was something “we kind of anticipated”.
“It is a blow,” he continued. “We would have loved to have had her playing because she’s world-class.
“But she will still bring a lot to the things that sit around the Super League, the engagement with the fans, inspiring the young girls to play. She was at Blackpool last week, which was the first time we have seen her for a few weeks.
“She was great around the squad. She has helped our young wicketkeeper Ellie Threlkeld, who is going to keep now that Sarah isn’t playing. She is quite open about it. She feels like she’s making good progress, but she isn’t quite ready for the cricket yet.
“I think everyone has the same attitude. We just want her to be well and enjoy it when she does take that step back into cricket.
“She is going to try to be around as many of the games as possible, and it will be good for the girls to have that support from her.
“I think it will also be healthy for her to be around a cricket environment without the worry of having to play. She will be in the tracksuit and there on match days, hopefully. I was trying to get her to take on the general manager’s role, but she wasn’t up for that!
Cross expects Threlkeld to shine with the gloves, as he does her fellow 17-year-old, the two-time England left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone.
“A lot of the talk has been around the international girls coming and shining, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the younger girls who surprise a few and come to prominence throughout the tournament,” he added.
Satterthwaite scored 60 in the warm-up defeat to the LCB under 15 boys at Blackpool last week, while West Indian duo Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews arrive from Barbados today (Thursday).
They should both feature in the final warm-up match against Loughborough Lightning at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow (1pm).