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Lauren Bell on WPL withdrawal, taking responsibility and inspiring England's next fast bowler

Lauren Bell on WPL withdrawal, taking responsibility and inspiring England's next fast bowler

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Lauren Bell has become one of the leaders of England's bowling attack in all formats since making her debut in 2022

Lauren Bell is not even two years into her international career, yet her trajectory – and the trajectory of women's football in general – has reached a new stratosphere.

Even within seven months, fast bowler Bell, 23, played in her first World Cup at the start of 2023, secured a Women's Super League deal in India and then featured in a record-breaking Ashes campaign.

But the acceleration in women's cricket – and the Bills – has come in such a short space of time that she is already facing difficult decisions about her commitments.

In a changing cricket landscape with the franchise circuit increasing in influence and money, Bell has joined her captain Heather Knight in pulling out of this year's WPL to focus on the ongoing New Zealand series. Some of her international teammates remained in India with England's blessing.

Bale's deal with the UP Warriorz is worth nearly £30,000, but with the next T20 World Cup in September and an away Ashes match in early 2025, she is fully focused on representing her country.

“It was a difficult decision,” Bell explained. “I love India, I loved my time in the WPL last year.

“But at this stage of my career, I just wanted to focus everything on preparing for this New Zealand series and playing for England because that's all I ever wanted to do. Hopefully there will be more opportunities in the future to go to England,” he added. WPL without any clashes.”

Completion year 2023

After February's disappointing T20 World Cup in South Africa, where England were knocked out by the hosts in the semi-final, the team bounced back in front of packed crowds and record crowds against world-dominant Australia.

And Bale was a standout performer: his 14 wickets across seven Ashes matches spanning three formats may not have been the headline-grabber, but fast bowling is about more than just numbers.

This can be judged by presence, consistency and skill – and Bale was clearly the only specialist fast bowler to play every match in the series.

“Throughout the summer I've been gaining more and more responsibility in our bowling attack,” Bell said.

“Heather had a lot of faith in me as a player and I loved that.

“I always want to be the one who comes and takes wickets when we need it and makes a difference for the team. It was the first series I had that responsibility and I was happy with the way I handled it and I hope I can do that. It's something I can do more of going forward.”

Kate Cross is England's most experienced seamer, but within a growing group of young fast bowlers, Bell is quickly becoming second-in-command, with all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brent's bowling ability recently limited by a knee injury.

Before the World Cup finals in the autumn, however, a series against Pakistan in May is followed by the White Ferns making the return trip to the UK.

Bale and the England team are passionate about their impact on the game and as role models for the wider community and, with coach John Lewis, are committed to building on last summer's Ashes success.

And they're doing well, too: 62,000 tickets have already been sold for the summer matches, which is 10% more than were sold at this time of year in 2023.

With more exposure naturally comes more pressure, but Bell's positivity shines through when asked about the growing status of the women's game.

“We want to inspire, we want to entertain – and with more eyes on us, it means people care about what we do,” she says.

“There will be more young girls in those crowds thinking, 'I want to be England's next fast bowler.'

Well, they might be waiting a while for their turn.

Bell is living up to her potential as a tall, ambitious teenager, showing off those signature curls and an infectious love of the game.

She had her breakout year. Now she is ready for more.

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