Hollie Armitage will join England’s senior squad for the first time next month as “a very rounded cricketer and individual”, says Northern Diamonds assistant coach Kyle Coetzer.
Diamonds captain Armitage has been selected for the squad to cover the first three matches of the five-match T20 series in New Zealand towards the back end of March.
England have named two squads to cover the five matches, owing to a clash of dates with the Women’s Premier League T20 competition in India. They have also named another squad for a following three-match ODI series.
The whole tour runs from March 19 to April 7, with Armitage earning her maiden call-up for the first three T20s in Dunedin and Nelson on March 19, 22 and 24.
Her Diamonds team-mate Bess Heath has been selected in all squads across the tour.
England’s A squad are also touring New Zealand through the whole of March, with Coetzer set to be a part of their backroom staff as an assistant coach, just like head coach Dani Hazell was in India before Christmas: “I think there is due to be a bit of crossover between the senior and A squads, but I’m not sure how much,” said the Scot.
Armitage’s senior call-up has been coming.
The 26-year-old has impressed both in regional cricket over the last two seasons with the England A team both at home and abroad since the middle of last summer, playing in series against Australia at home and India away.
“She’s been racking up scores and not only showing her use with the bat but with her leadership skills as well,” said Coetzer. “That’s really important, but ultimately her currency is her runs.”
Armitage will be used to Kiwi conditions having only just finished playing as an overseas player for the Central Hinds in the country’s Super Smash T20 competition.
The Huddersfield-born star helped the Hinds reach the final with a 10-match haul of 318 runs – the third best in the entire competition.
“There’s been a lot of graft over the years from Hollie,” continued Coetzer.
“She’s put in a lot of hard work to figure out what her game looks like and what will make her most effective.
“She understands her game and has been rewarded with her success.
“She’s coming into that England team as a very rounded cricketer and individual. She understands her skills, she’s leading a team and she looks after herself well. Ultimately, she’s shown exactly what it is to be a professional.”
Armitage and her family will no doubt be as proud as punch at the news which was revealed by the ECB last week. But so too will everyone associated with the Diamonds.
“Dani often says here that we want to produce England cricketers alongside being a successful team,” added Coetzer. “So Hollie achieving what she has is success for everyone.
“Her team-mates alongside her, they’ll have played their part alongside all of her coaches of previous years.”