Sophie Ecclestone back for England tour of India following shoulder surgery

Leading spinner named for T20Is and one-off Test match as coach Lewis monitors workloads

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
10-Nov-2023 • 21 hrs ago
Sophie Ecclestone has been named in England's Test and T20I squads for the tour of India in December, as she continues her return to cricket after dislocating her right shoulder during last summer's Women's Hundred.
Ecclestone, England's No. 1-ranked white-ball spinner, sustained the injury while warming up for Manchester Originals' home fixture against Southern Brave at Old Trafford in August, and underwent surgery in September.
She has since returned to bowling, and will step up her workloads during a training camp in Oman next week, ahead of England's three T20Is in Mumbai between December 6 and 10, and their one-off four-day Test in Navi Mumbai from December 14-17.
Jon Lewis, England's head coach, welcomed the prospect of Ecclestone's comeback - particularly after a notable home series loss against Sri Lanka in September had exposed a lack of experience among the team's younger players - but warned that he would not be expecting too much too soon, as she learns to trust her body again after the injury.
"She's the No. 1 bowler in the world across both white-ball formats, she's an obvious standout talent in women's cricket," Lewis said. "She's a really good competitor, she loves winning. So she's great to have around our side. For the girls to practice against a bowler like that, and for Charlie Dean and Sarah Glenn to pick her brains, and Alice Capsey as well, will be invaluable.
"She's working her way back to fitness. We expect her to be fit to play. However, getting people back to fitness isn't always a linear experience," Lewis added. "So we'll see how she progresses over the next three or four weeks. The medical people are telling me she will be [fit], but my experience tells me that's not always straightforward. The thing that could be more tricky for her is hitting the ground when she fields."
Ecclestone's fitness aside, the white-ball leg of England's tour could be a key indicator of the team's readiness for next winter's T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, as well as an early taste of the conditions that could be prevalent at the next 50-over World Cup in India in 2025.
"We haven't toured India for a number of years," Lewis said. "We have players who have experienced playing in the Women's Premier League but many haven't played international cricket there before. Playing in Indian conditions is great preparation for our next two World Cups in the subcontinent and will be an amazing learning opportunity for both the players and the staff. We respect the Indian team and are really looking forward to the challenge."
Bess Heath, Northern Superchargers' powerful wicketkeeper-batter, has been named in both squads for the first time, having made a one-off maiden ODI appearance against Sri Lanka last summer, while Mahika Gaur, England's 17-year-old left-arm seamer, has been picked for the T20Is only as she continues to settle into set-up having made her international bow for the UAE.
"It's an exciting squad," Lewis said. "We've got three teenagers in there still. They're getting slightly older, slightly more experienced, and there's a lovely balance between youth and experience in the squad.
"It's a squad that reflects some players that came in against Sri Lanka and did nicely, but also the players that did really well to beat Australia 2-1 in the [white-ball] series in the summer as well."
England's selectors have also named a 21-player A squad that will prepare in Oman from November 12-25, with a reduced 14-player squad to be named in due course to face India A in three T20Is.
Notable inclusions in that set-up include Issy Wong, who endured a torrid home summer as she struggled with her run-up, and Tash Farrant, who is back in contention following surgery for a stress fracture of the lumbar spine in June. Gaur and Lauren Filer, who is in the Test squad following her impressive debut against Australia, have also been named in the training squad.
T20I squad: Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Alice Capsey, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Mahika Gaur, Danielle Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Bess Heath, Amy Jones, Freya Kemp, Heather Knight (capt), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt.
Test squad: Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Filer, Bess Heath, Amy Jones, Heather Knight (capt), Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt
England A squad for Oman training camp: Hollie Armitage, Hannah Baker, Alice Davidson-Richards, Georgia Davis, Charlie Dean, Tash Farrant, Lauren Filer, Mahika Gaur, Kirstie Gordon, Liberty Heap, Freya Kemp, Emma Lamb, Ryana MacDonald-Gay, Kalea Moore, Sophie Munro, Grace Potts, Grace Scrivens, Seren Smale, Rhianna Southby, Mady Villiers, Issy Wong

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket