Sport

Bell believes more all-girls cricket teams will help grow the game

England cricket star Lauren Bell believes more all-girls teams are vital if the sport is to open its doors to even more players.

Bell took her first steps in the game at Hungerford Cricket Club but spent much of her youth playing against the boys.

While that was no problem for fast-bowling Bell, the 23-year-old knows it is not for everyone and is keenly aware of the value of girls playing alongside each other.

“It’s really key in making sure that more girls get involved,” said Bell, who was speaking at the launch of the Metro Bank Girls in Cricket Fund.

“There are girls that will feel really comfortable in a boys’ team and probably be really happy but to get a lot more girls involved, being able to be with other girls and not be up against the boys all the time is really important to make sure they want to join in and feel comfortable. 

“Playing with girls is definitely more comfortable than boys. When I was at school, they had girls’ teams but I was good enough to play in the boys’ team. I was always the only girl which is obviously scary.

The Metro Bank Girls in Cricket Fund, co-designed and jointly funded by Metro Bank and ECB, focuses on recruiting, educating, supporting, and celebrating the people that make girls’ cricket in clubs happen, with the ambition to triple the number of girls’ teams at clubs by the end of 2026.

The 2023 National Cricket Playing Survey indicated that one of the main barriers for women and girls at all levels includes a distinct lack of female coaches in the girls’ game sitting at the heart of this.

“It’s really important for a kid, if they have got a female role model and a woman they can go to,” added Bell. “You feel a lot more comfortable, a lot more at ease. 

“Growing up, having someone like Charlotte Edwards as a head coach, that is amazing and getting more women in those roles is really important and it’s something that there is still plenty of room for cricket to grow in.”

Bell made a successful return to England duty on home soil on Saturday with three wickets against Pakistan in the first of a three-match T20 series at Edgbaston and is set to play a key role across the summer.

She added: “Series when you have come home from being away all winter are just so exciting. You get a chance to play in front of home crowds, inspire the main people you are wanting to inspire.

“It’s another summer to try and inspire some girls and entertain. They have been inspired from last summer and they want to come back.”

Lauren Bell was speaking on behalf of Metro Bank. Head to metrobankonline.co.uk/cricket where you can discover more about the Metro Bank Girls In Cricket Fund, and help to champion the future of girls’ cricket.

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