Pre-season preparations are ramping up for the Northern Diamonds, with Dani Hazell saying a real competitive edge has been added to training since the turn of the year.

The Diamonds coach is happy with the progress her squad is making ahead of April.

“We’re looking forward to getting going now, and it’s starting to build up,” said the former England international.

“There’s a lot of bat v ball stuff going on, and we did our first bit of fielding outside a couple of weeks ago.

“A lot of the stuff before Christmas is fitness work and technical on your own game. Now, we’ve got into the competition side of things, getting as much game scenario work done as we can. I want to see them get in the battle, which they are doing.”

The Diamonds begin their summer with a Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy clash against Thunder at Durham on Saturday April 20.  

Hazell continued. “We’re focusing on the tactical side of things, broadening our minds as we head closer to the summer.

“We vary what we’re working on to keep things fresh, whether it’s 50-over stuff or the T20s. A T20 powerplay scenario can certainly keep the bowlers on their toes! 

Next month, Hazell and her players are due to jet off to Mumbai for a pre-season tour which will see them play matches against the Central Sparks and local opposition. It is a tour which is being supported by new Yorkshire club partners, Destination Sport Travel. 

“It’s going to be a great experience,” said Hazell. “When we went around the squad and asked who’d been to India before, there were only one our two who put their hands up.

“The climate, the culture, everything’s different out there. It’s a fantastic place to tour, and it’s very exciting.”

That tour will be particularly important for fast bowling all-rounder Beth Langston, whose return to fitness is progressing positively having only played one match in 2023 because of a long-term knee injury. 

“India will give us a real opportunity to see where she is in terms of being ready for the season,” said the coach. “That’s the plan, all being well. 

“She’s still progressing, and having Beth back will be like having a new signing for us this year.”

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