Paul Grayson says his Yorkshire Diamonds squad has “a nice balance” ahead of their forthcoming Kia Super League campaign, which starts on Friday.
Coach Grayson and his players began their pre-tournament training camp today (Monday) as they build up to a blockbuster opener against Lancashire Thunder at Headingley.
Grayson was forced into some last-minute recruitment when injured Australian Beth Mooney pulled out of a second season with the Diamonds, who won only one of their five matches last year.
He has added Sri Lanka batsman Chamari Atapattu to fellow internationals Sophie Devine and Sune Luus – all-rounders from New Zealand and South Africa.
Captain Lauren Winfield will be joined by fellow World Cup winners Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn for their second season with the Diamonds.
But he is also happy with the depth of domestic and local players below the star names.
“There’s a nice balance to the squad,” said the former White Rose all-rounder.
“The batting looks very strong up front, for example, and we’re really pleased with how we’re looking.
“There’s one or two of the England Academy and Development squad in there – Alice Davidson-Richards, Hollie Armitage are good cricketers – and five or six of the young Yorkshire girls in there as well.
“They can experience what it’s all about.”
Grayson is combining his Diamonds duties with his role as director of cricket at Durham University this summer.
“I had good times at Yorkshire as a player, and it’s nice to be working back at the club again,” he said. “They’re a good group of girls.
“I’ve already done some work with them.
“I’ve been lucky enough to get involved with the Yorkshire Twenty20 side, not the Diamonds, after term time finished, and it’s given me an insight into one or two of the players.
“I helped out through the winter as well with some of their training. I’ve really enjoyed it so far.
“When I was asked if I was interested in taking on the role four or five months ago, I had no hesitation.
“I’ve been working at Durham University for the last couple of years, running the cricket programme for men and women, and I’ve really enjoyed that.
“Gareth Breese has supported me up there, and Gareth’s going to be my assistant as well with the Diamonds.
“We work closely and well together. There’s no better time to be getting involved in women’s cricket on the back of the World Cup.”
One of the first tasks Yorkshire’s players have in their build-up to the competition is media day at Headingley this morning (Tuesday). Then it will be down to action.
“There will be plenty of practice and meetings and discussions about formula and stuff like that,” added Grayson.
“Hopefully the confidence of the World Cup winners will come to us as a group. But I guess that will be the same with everyone else. Had they lost that World Cup final, some of the girls might have needed a bit of picking up to get them going again. But they are going to come into the training camp and matches with us and be ready to go.
“The key to it this year is, with only five games, that we hit the ground running. You can’t be slow out of the blocks or you’ll be playing catch-up. Last year, the girls made a poor start and were chasing it.
“We’ve got to make sure we get out of the blocks quickly, play some good cricket and hopefully get a couple of wins on the board early.”