Director of Cricket James Carr says the Northern Diamonds will continue to champion Associate nation cricket after signing Scotland Under 19s captain Katherine Fraser.

The teenaged all-rounder is the fourth player from an Associate country to represent the Diamonds across the three and a bit seasons of regional cricket.

Sterre Kalis and Rachel Slater, of the Netherlands and Scotland, are currently on full-time contracts with the Diamonds, while Hong Kong’s Mariko Hill played for them last season.

The Diamonds also recently appointed former Scotland men’s captain Kyle Coetzer as an assistant coach.

“Our job is to produce not only England cricketers – that’s first and foremost – but also young cricketers wherever they’re from,” said Carr. “We’re always going to champion that.

“It’s such a growth area in women’s cricket.

“For a number of years, young girls from Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands have looked to go and play in Australia and New Zealand to get better. That’s great.

“What Australia have done in women’s cricket, why wouldn’t you do that.

“But now there are more and more opportunities for players to come over to England and do that given the rapid growth that we’ve seen in our own game.”

Dutch batter Kalis was the first of the aforementioned quartet to represent the Diamonds, debuting for them in the first year of regional cricket in 2020.

“Part of it is organic given the connections that some of us have, myself for example with the KNCB (Dutch Cricket Board),” continued Carr.

“I was a support coach for the Netherlands and their liaison officer at a World Cup qualifying tournament in Scotland a few years ago. And the relationship just built from there.

“They’re a small scale structure, and they allowed me in to hit a few catches and do some organisational work.

“I got to meet Sterre, who is obviously a rising star for the Netherlands. We were able to give her an opportunity at the Diamonds, and so far it’s worked out well.”

James Carr

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com – James Carr

There are other regions handing similar chances. The Blaze have Scottish sisters Kathryn and Sarah Bryce, for example, and Thunder have only just handed a debut to UAE seamer Mahika Gaur.

Not only are the Diamonds handing regional chances, they are also more than happy for their young internationals to put their countries first.

“Contractually, we can’t stop them playing for their countries. But we are very supportive of it,” said Carr.

“Our coach Dani Hazell is probably the leader in that kind of thing. She’s represented her country and knows what a prestigious thing it is for a cricketer

“Generally, it works really well because there are few clashes. It means our players can go and play other cricket in different conditions. They can learn more and bring some of that back to us.

“What we have to do is support Associate nation cricket and not deplete them.”

Fraser herself said: “It’s fantastic to see what is happening in regional cricket. We have quite a few girls in that Scotland squad playing down here.

“Over the the last few years, Associate nation cricket has really started to go in the right direction. Getting players and coaches into environments such as this will definitely help our development.”

Carr has described Fraser’s signing as a “coup” for the Diamonds.

In 2019, the now 18-year-old off-spinner who bats was Scotland’s youngest ever T20 international cricketer when she debuted at the age of 14 years and 81 days.

Katherine Fraser

Photo by Alex Davidson-ICC/ICC via Getty Images – Katherine Fraser

“Katherine’s got an incredible old head on young shoulders,” he said.

“She’s a bundle of energy, and she’s got an extremely bright future.

“She’s looking to go and study at the University of Leeds and do Geography, I believe.

“Katherine’s education is vitally important. The quality of the University is definitely a reason, but hopefully she’s chosen our region in part because she’s seen the good stuff we’re doing cricket wise.

“It’s great she can go to University in our region, come and play for us and maybe go on to be a professional cricketer like other Scottish players have.

“This is definitely a coup for us.”

FEATURE: ECB REPORTERS NETWORK

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