Hazell hoping to add a senior off-spinner to Diamonds squad for 2022

Dani Hazell says the Northern Diamonds are looking at adding a senior off-spinner to their squad for 2022.

The Diamonds hierarchy are currently assessing their recruitment options as they bid to bolster a squad which has reached all three finals played in the two years of regional cricket.

Ami Campbell and Phoebe Graham have already moved on to pastures new; Central Sparks and Thunder respectively.

But last week, as the regional fixtures were announced, director of cricket James Carr said: “It’s certainly the goal to go one better this year having reached three finals but been runners-up on all occasions.

“We think we’ve got a strong squad. We’ve lost a couple of players, but we’ve also contracted more.

“We’ll look to make a couple of signings, and hopefully we can go one better.”

Hazell has since revealed: “There’s no hiding the fact we don’t have an off-spinner. That’s something we’re looking at. We have a couple of young girls in our Academy that may or may not get that opportunity.

“We have Linsey (Smith) as a left-arm spinner, Lev (Katie Levick) as a leg-spinner. But off-spin is certainly an area we’ve had to look at.

“We’ve had a few conversations with some people, and we’ll hopefully get them over the line in the next month or so.”

One of those young off-spinners who is progressing very nicely is Emma Marlow, who won last year’s Coaches’ Academy Player of the Year award.

Hazell continued: “It’s exciting to see some of our youngsters push the senior players, and we have to have an eye on girls getting called up to England squads potentially, A squads, that kind of thing.

“We have to have enough depth in our squad to cover that plus the general injuries that will happen throughout the year. Yes, there will be new names. But I have no doubt that if they play, they will be ready.”

Hazell has spoken of a positive winter for her squad so far, both at home and abroad.

“It’s been good,” she said. “We’ve had a couple of people away. Linsey Smith was away before Christmas, Beth Langston is with England A now and Rachel Slater has been with Scotland.

“That’s been good for them to get the recognition and almost confirmation that they had a really good summer last year.

“So, yes, it’s been really positive so far, and we’re looking forward to getting the group almost fully back together over the next two or three weeks.

“For these girls to go away and train with different teams, work with different coaches, it can only benefit all of us. I love it when they get the opportunity to do these things. We are certainly very supportive of it at the Diamonds.”

Slater played four T20 internationals for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, with Sri Lanka the eventual qualifiers for this summer’s event in Birmingham.

Left-arm seamer Slater, aged 20, also qualifies to play for England and her nation of birth, the USA.

“Last year, I didn’t even realise half of these countries she’s eligible for,” laughed Hazell.

“The Scotland thing came really fast and out of the blue. But what an experience for her.

“There is absolutely nobody who can take away from her the fact she’s played international cricket. I think it’s fantastic.

“But we can’t wait to have her back because she’s a great character and brings a huge smile to our group.”

With the fixtures now being released for the summer, it is clear the excitement is building amongst the coaches and players.

“There is significant excitement,” added Hazell.

“Let’s see how many times we have to travel to Southampton again. I think it’s only once this time, but you never know!

“As soon as the fixtures come out and you get past Christmas, you’re almost on that road to the summer ahead. It goes so fast.

“It’s great to be able to get some concrete plans together now.”


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