Preview: Northern Diamonds V Southern Vipers

Nat Sciver believes she and her national team-mates have a vitally important role to play in the development of English Cricket by turning out for their regional teams as often as possible.

The superstar England all-rounder is back with the Northern Diamonds after a busy winter away at the Ashes and the World Cup.

She played in Wednesday’s Charlotte Edwards Cup defeat against Thunder at Sale as a batter only but plans to be available to bowl when the Diamonds look to bounce back on Saturday (2.30pm) against Southern Vipers at Durham’s Riverside - their first home game of 2022.

Sciver is desperate to play her part in the Diamonds’ pursuit of silverware, though there is a much bigger picture for her and the likes of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Katherine Brunt, the latter who is set for her first appearance of the summer in the North East.

“I would love to be part of something here,” said the 29-year-old. “Dani Hazell has said to us, ‘Winning’s a habit’. And we want to instil that into our young girls so that they can progress, be it at regional level or international level.

“So it’s vitally important that we, as internationals, put the effort in to come and play for our teams as much as we can.

“I love it playing in this side.

“It is hard when you don’t quite know when you’re going to be involved, when you’re training and what games you’ll be playing.

“I don’t know what will be happening when we start going back to stuff with England from next week. But we all want to play as many games as possible. Nothing beats game time out in the middle.”

Sciver’s comments about helping the youngsters have been echoed by coach Dani Hazell, who pointed to a discussion Sciver had with a new kid on the block.

She explained: “I was listening to Nat talk to Phoebe Turner at the end of the game, and I thought, ‘This is what it’s all about. That’s invaluable’.

“For Nat to be having a conversation with Phoebe about being an all-rounder and how she progresses her game, that’s such a big thing.”

Winfield-Hill is a doubt to play on Saturday having pulle

d up in the field at Sale, potentially opening the door for Sterre Kalis to come back into the side after her recent involvement at the Fairbreak Global competition in Dubai.

In a short and sharp, six-group game competition which sees only each group winner and the best second-placed team qualify for Finals Day on June 11, Saturday is already a key fixture.

The Diamonds have won one and lost one and face a Vipers side who have won both of their games so far against Thunder and Lightning.

“These games come quickly, and it’s about momentum. Things can change quickly in T20 cricket. Once you have the momentum you don’t want to let it go,” continued Sciver.

“We want to build it up again, starting in Durham, our first home game.

“It’s always going to be a big game against the Vipers, whatever the format, given the rivalry that’s been created through finals.

“There have been some tight ones over the last few years, and it’s certainly one we’re looking forward to. We certainly won’t need any help to get up for that game.”

Sciver took a super diving catch running in from deep mid-wicket on Wednesday, but she only made two as the Diamonds collapsed to 33-6 in pursuit of 149.

“We started back training at the start of last week, so it was good to get a run out,” she said. “Unfortunately, none of our batters, including me, were able to take the game by the reins.

“We did really well to bring it back from the opening partnership that they put on. We got some good momentum towards the end of the innings, but we couldn’t take it on.”

Despite defeat, Sciver remains confident of success for the Diamonds in the near future.

She has previously tasted Kia Super League success with Surrey Stars (2018) and sees similar traits within this group, led by captain Hollie Armitage and coach Hazell.

“It’s the not always the same person performing,” she said. “Four or five people could stand up on any given day and win us games.

“We have a lot of talent, and - as I say - a lot of different girls who could win you a game from anywhere. We’ve had some brilliant young bowlers come on over the winter, and everyone is showing that they’ve got something.”

Sciver scored a 50-over century last May when the Diamonds played at Durham, against the Lightning: “It was a tough pitch that day,” she recalled. “Hopefully it’s a bit better this time.”

Squad: Armitage, Brunt, Glen, Graves, Heath, Kalis, Kasperek Levick, Marlow, Sciver, Smith, Slater, Turner


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