Lauren Bell backed to lead England’s seam attack for years to come

Lauren Bell has been tipped as a future leader of England’s bowling attack after an eye-catching start to her first overseas tour.

Bell has played a key role in her side’s ODI series win in the West Indies, sharing the new ball with the experienced Kate Cross and winning a crucial head-to-head with home captain Hayley Matthews.

The 21-year-old trapped the dangerous Matthews lbw in the first game in Antigua, then had her caught at slip with her opening delivery in the second.

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She went on to wrap up figures of four for 33 as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, further polishing a growing reputation.

Bell was a hit for Southern Brave in the Hundred last summer, claiming 11 wickets in the tournament to finish as the top-performing homegrown bowler, and also made her international debut in all three formats.

And England team-mate Sophia Dunkley, who has watched her progress at close quarters, has seen enough to believe Bell will be a substantial part of the pace line-up for years to come.

Speaking ahead of the series closer at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Dunkley said: “Lauren brings so much. I was lucky enough to be on her team in the Hundred and watched her tear through a lot of top orders.

“To see her bowl like she did the other night was brilliant. It was a game-winning spell – two wickets in her first over, four in the game – it was great to see. She’s still so young but there’s so much experience she can add to her game.

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“I’m sure she’ll go on to do a lot of big things for us and lead this seam bowling attack. She’s got such positive energy and always wants to be involved. She’ll be a great leader in years to come.”

Dunkley has also grown quickly as an established player in the one-day side, starting out as a number six but moving up to number three during the summer.

Having also been used an opener in T20 cricket, the 24-year-old has been identified as a player who can help shape the way in the aggressive manner England want to play and hit a fluent 57 on Tuesday night.

“I had a good conversation with Heather (Knight, captain) on how the previous year had gone, how they see me fitting in,” she explained.

“My game is naturally attacking so it’s a way of getting momentum going at the start of the game, hopefully it’s a role that suits me. But it’s a really talented batting order and we have people who can bat in every position.”