Tue, 22 Sept 2020
Lauren Bell is getting used to life in a ‘bubble’ after being called into the England women’s cricket squad.
The 19-year-old former Bradfield College student was first introduced to the England set-up at the end of lockdown in July when 24 squad members were joined by a couple of the game’s rising stars.
At the start of August, Bell, who plays for Southern Vipers in the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy, was named in the 24-player squad that had to stay in a bio-secure ‘bubble’ in Derby ahead of the proposed Test series against South Africa and India.
But those tours were called off and replaced by a visit from the West Indies for five T20 internationals at the end of September.
Bell, along with the rest of the squad, coaches and security staff, is currently in a ‘bubble’ in Loughborough, where the squad is isolated.
And the right-arm fast-medium bowler is hoping to make the final cut of 18 players to face the Windies.
She said: “I have been training with the England squad all summer and it has all been so crazy.
“I often still wonder to myself ‘is this really happening?’
“It is strange living in a bubble, but the ECB have been great and there’s loads to do.
“You are training virtually all the time and the England players have been so nice.
“I didn’t know the head coach Lisa Keightley before, but she has been so helpful as well.
“I am learning so much being around so many quality players.”
It’s been a whirlwind few years for Bell, who came through the age groups at Hungerford CC and played her last game for the first team three years ago.
Since then, she studied A-levels at Bradfield College, where she played for the first team, before moving to Loughborough University, where she is studying criminology and sociology.
The coronavirus has severely curtailed sport this summer and Vipers have only had two competitive matches.
They have won them both, but now Bell has to step aside from the team to stay with the England squad.
She said: “I am in a win-win situation because if I make the final 18 then I will be with the England squad against the West Indies.
“But if I don’t make it then I will be available for Vipers’ last group game against South East Stars at The Oval on September 19 and hopefully the final.
“I love playing for the Vipers and my game has improved so much. My key asset is that I can swing the ball and moving forward I have to improve my consistency.
“That’s the big difference between the more experienced bowlers and the younger ones – consistency.”