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Charlotte Edwards: Winter Update

Southern Brave Head Coach and Hampshire's Director of Women's Cricket Charlotte Edwards is already planning ahead for The Hundred after her experiences in the Women's Big Bash League in Australia

Southern Brave women’s head coach Charlotte Edwards can’t wait to get back to England and start planning for The Hundred after narrowly falling short of winning the Women’s Big Bash League title in Australia.

Edwards, who also holds the position of Director of Women's Cricket for Hampshire, helped to mastermind the Adelaide Strikers’ first-ever appearance in the WBBL final at the weekend, with a team captained by Southern Brave and former Hampshire and Southern Vipers all-rounder, Suzie Bates.

And while the Strikers fell short, losing to defending champions Brisbane Heat by six wickets, Edwards oversaw a franchise-record 10 wins during the round-robin stages to underline the successful transition she has made from her record-breaking playing career into coaching.

Edwards oversaw the Vipers successful Kia Super League campaign last summer as they reached the competition final and wants to go one better next season with the Brave in the inaugural The Hundred competition.

“I really can’t wait to get back home now and start the planning stages of it because it will come around quite quickly,” Edwards said.

“I know from being out here in Australia how much excitement there is amongst all the players from around the world about The Hundred.

“It is going to be a special competition for women’s cricket in England, with the best players from around the world in addition to our homegrown players, and hopefully the fans will get on board too and they’ll come to watch.

“We have a really good core of players in our team at the moment so hopefully we can contend for that first title.”

Southern Brave have made a statement of intent with their signings so far with England internationals Danni Wyatt and Anya Shrubsole joined by star international duo Stefanie Taylor and Bates.

Edwards admitted she has kept one eye on players at the WBBL with The Hundred in mind as she looks to put together a title-winning squad.

“The focus was on Adelaide Strikers, of course, but I’d be lying If I said I wasn’t looking at tactics and players going into The Hundred,” she said.

“It’s great to see all of the players and their strengths and weaknesses so I have half an eye on that while I am here as well as looking at different ways to bowl to people and to go about that.”

One player who has captured the attention in 2019 has been Southern Brave all-rounder Wyatt, who Edwards believes has established herself as one of the most complete players in women’s world cricket.

Wyatt was named Player of the Tournament for the KSL last summer and was last week named in the WBBL tea of the Tournament.

The 28-year-old followed that with a century in England’s 75-run win over Pakistan in the opening one-day international against Pakistan in Malaysia this week.

“She has really kicked on her game this year,” Edwards said.

“One thing that you would have said about Danni Wyatt a few years ago was that you knew she had the talent but now she has the consistency in her game.

“We have seen that in back-to-back tournaments in the KSL and the WBBL. She has performed at a high standard. It shows how far she has come and I think there’s even more to come from her.

“We’re really excited to have Danni playing for the Sothern Brave. Hopefully she can keep churning out the runs and she is now contributing with the ball and is one of the most outstanding fielders in the world.

“She is a massive player for the team.”

Brave will play their opening game of The Hundred – Women’s Competition away to Birmingham Phoenix on Friday, July 24.

They will play a home double header with the men’s team at the Ageas Bowl against Trent Rockets on Tuesday, August 4.

“That was the game that I looked for straight away when the fixtures came out,” Edwards said.

“It’s great opposition in the Rockets who have some really good England players in Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt. Every game is going to be tough, but we circled that one and I’m sure the players are looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd.”

Edwards believes having the women’s and men’s team playing at the same venue on the same day will be one of the features of the competition, with their opener against Phoenix also a double header.

While the Big Bash no longer plays their men’s and women’s competitions at the same time, Edwards said the benefits of forging close links were valuable in promoting cricket as a sport for all and which is a key element in The Hundred.

Southern Brave batsman James Vince has revealed he is looking forward to attending the Brave’s women’s games during The Hundred and Edwards believes that sort of mentality will help grow cricket in this country.

“It’s something that they really promote over here in Australia – the one club, two team’s ethos” she said.

“That has worked really well. There’s a lot of involvement between the two teams and they do watch each other’s games and that is something that we will promote.

“Certainly (men’s coach) Mahela and I will be looking to promote that in our teams. I’ve looked at the men’s fixtures and know which games I want to go along to and I am sure when we play at the Ageas Bowl it is going to be a great occasion for both teams.

“We want to do as much of that as possible to promote the game whether it is men’s or women’s cricket.”

Each of the eight women’s teams in The Hundred can now finalise negotiations to fill the remaining 13 places in their squads, including the option of three overseas players.

It’s the first time the women’s game has seen such an open-market system in this country, and it will certainly pose some dilemmas for the coaches.

Edwards, though, is clear on the kind of squad she wants to assemble.

“I’m conscious about keeping this team very southern based and not going outside the area too much,” she said.

“What has been so successful about the Southern Vipers is that we’ve kept a really good group of players together. I’ve formed strong relationships with the players and I think they really like playing down here.

“I want to get the blend of youth and experience and it’s about getting the right people – you can have the best players but if they’re not the right fit for the group, or don’t have the same values as me as the coach, then we’ll be going in the wrong direction.”

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