By Graham Hardcastle

New coach Danielle Hazell will urge her Yorkshire Diamonds players to make the most of the spotlight during this summer’s Kia Super League as the Hundred fast approaches.

This year’s fourth edition of the Women’s Super League is to be the last in its current format with the structure of women’s domestic cricket set for change from next season.

Earlier this week, the Diamonds announced their squad for a competition which begins for them on August 6.

Fledgling England bowlers Katie George and Linsey Smith have joined from Southern Vipers and Loughborough Lightning respectively, while three new overseas players, headlined by Australia wicketkeeper batsman Alyssa Healy, have been signed.

Eighteen-year-old Indian batting all-rounder Jemimah Rodrigues will also play in the KSL for the first time, as will South African all-rounder Chloe Tryon, and Hazell believes she has a squad that can push for silverware as well as put their name in lights ahead of next summer.

The women’s Hundred tournament, which is set to be played alongside the men’s competition, will be a feature of the 2020 schedule with eight new city-based franchises.

“For the girls who are involved this year, you’d be daft if you didn’t have an eye on what’s to come. Good performances can very much put you into the shop window,” said Hazell, who has replaced Paul Grayson after he left to become Yorkshire men’s batting coach.

“It’s going to be different, but it’s exciting. It’s a way of getting your name into the limelight.

“If a player does a good job, local or overseas, be it on or off the field, they’ll give themselves a real chance of being picked up (in the Hundred).”

Hazell believes the signing of Rodrigues will also be important in making the cricket mad Indian public more aware of the good things going on in English women’s cricket.

“Her arrival potentially builds the hype around our game ahead of what’s happening next year,” she said.

“We’re happy with the overseas we’ve got.

“Alyssa has been a big name in international cricket for a few years, and Jemimah is an exciting prospect for Indian Cricket, which is on the rise. Chloe is also a very, very good cricketer.”

With an Ashes series to be played before the Super League begins, Yorkshire may not see quite as much of star England all-rounder Katherine Brunt as they would like.

The 33-year-old has a history of back injuries, and Hazell admitted: “We have to respect that she needs to be looked after.”

That is part of the reason behind Smith and George heading to Emerald Headingley.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with Katherine after the Ashes, but it’s a luxury to have some quality bowlers who can take her place should she not be around as much as we’d like,” Hazell said.

“Katie George burst onto the scene, and this is a chance for her to come and be a main player for us. Linsey’s a quality spinner as well.”

Former England spinner Hazell played her regular women’s county cricket for Yorkshire and represented the Diamonds in the first year of the KSL before moving to captain Lancashire
Thunder for the past two seasons prior to hanging up her boots.

“I’ve been jumping between Yorkshire and Lancashire and living in Durham. I do a bit of coaching there too. I’ve got the North pretty much covered,” she joked.

Yorkshire are yet to reach Finals Day after three attempts, with Hazell adding: “Over the last few years, Yorkshire, a massive county, have probably underperformed.

“We’ve now got the chance to put that right. I believe it’s a good squad and one of the strongest I’ve seen at the Diamonds. We’re pretty happy with it.”

Yorkshire Diamonds squad: Lauren Winfield (capt), Hollie Armitage, Katherine Brunt, Alice Davidson-Richards, Georgia Davis, Helen Fenby, Katie George, Cordelia Griffith, Alyssa Healy, Bess Heath, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Linsey Smith, Chloe Tryon, Jemimah Rodrigues.

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