Bess Heath believes more of her Northern Diamonds’ emerging team-mates can follow her lead in gaining senior international recognition with England after she was called up to the squads for forthcoming series with Sri Lanka.
The wicketkeeper-batter, 22, has been called up for three IT20 and as many One-Day Internationals between August 31 and September 14.
Heath’s game is built on dynamism – with the gloves, in the outfield when she doesn’t keep and, more obviously, with bat in hand.
While Lauren Winfield-Hill, not selected on this occasion, has been a firm fixture in England’s recent plans across all formats, Heath is the first of their young up and comers to have been recognised at senior level having previously impressed in A team colours.
Heath can’t wait to get stuck in from next week, and feels it won’t be long before others follow her.
Names such as Emma Marlow and Lizzie Scott immediately spring to mind given they represented England in January’s Under 19s World Cup in South Africa back in January.
Earlier this summer, Diamonds captain Hollie Armitage also represented England A against the touring Australians.
Things with the Diamonds have been good,” said Chesterfield-born Heath.
“We’re constantly progressing as a team, and we have a good bunch of girls there.
“Lozzie (Winfield-Hill) has been around the England set-up, and there are a couple of girls on the England A stuff as well. But this is good for the Diamonds.
“Hopefully there will be a few more who can get an England call-up in the next few years.”
Heath has been on a full-time contract with the Diamonds since the end of 2021, and she still works in her family’s tree surgery business when time allows.
Rugby Union’s loss was cricket’s gain given Heath was offered a trial with Worcester Warriors before opting to concentrate on leather and willow.
She has two senior 50-over centuries to her name, both while playing for Derbyshire before moving to play her county cricket with Yorkshire. She has also scored nine fifties for the Diamonds across both limited overs formats.
Upon being selected for England last week, Diamonds director of cricket James Carr said: “Since Jon Lewis has come in as England’s coach, he’s tried to instil this assertive brand of cricket.
“If you’ve got the ball in your hand, it’s about looking to take wickets all the time. If it’s with bat in hand, it’s about trying to put pressure on the bowler.
“The latter is very much Bess Heath.
“She’s not going to die wondering, she’s always going to look for the positive option, and I think that suits the mantra of this England team perfectly.”
On her England call, Heath said: “It has all happened a bit quick to be honest. I haven’t really had too much time to think about it yet, but it’s exciting for sure.
“It’s definitely an ambition to be in and around the England squad on a regular basis, but I think just focusing on what I’m doing each game and see where the opportunities take me is the best thing.”
Heath is already a Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy champion having won that competition with the Diamonds at Lord’s last September.
She could well link up with England next week as a Hundred champion as well given her Northern Superchargers team have qualified for Saturday afternoon’s Eliminator clash with Welsh Fire at the Kia Oval.
The winner will play group stage table-toppers Southern Brave at Lord’s in Sunday’s final.
The Superchargers beat the Fire in the final group fixture at Headingley earlier this week, and Heath added: “It’s always a confidence boost for the team when you are able to get a win under your belt going into the final weekend.”