Northern Diamonds' Dani Hazell praises regional schedule expansion

England's Danielle Hazell celebrates the wicket of New Zealand's Amy Satterthwaite during the Women's Vitality International T20 Tri-Series Final at The CloudFM County Ground, Chelmsford. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
England's Danielle Hazell celebrates the wicket of New Zealand's Amy Satterthwaite during the Women's Vitality International T20 Tri-Series Final at The CloudFM County Ground, Chelmsford. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

DANI HAZELL has hailed the expansion of the regional schedule by eight matches across two competitions for 2023.

Next summer’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy has been doubled to 14 group matches ahead of a semi-final eliminator and final, while the Charlotte Edwards Cup will see each region play seven group fixtures in order to qualify for Finals Day.

Hazell, the Northern Diamonds’ head coach who spent 10 years playing for Yorkshire, has described the increase as “pretty close to the ideal schedule.”

“We’ve been crying out for more cricket,” said the former England World Cup winning off-spinner.

“For the last couple of years it’s felt like we’ve been training, training and then playing.

“It’s good now that the girls will get the opportunity to play more and develop quicker, so I think it’s a really good addition.

“The only other addition for me is multi-day cricket. Will that ever get in? I don’t know.

“But my thoughts are that whatever is played internationally, there should be the option to play it at the level below.

“You don’t want your first ever game of multi-day cricket to be in an Ashes Test Match. That, to me, is an avenue which needs exploring.

“But for now, where we’ve come from in the last two or three years, to have the schedule we’ve got is very positive.

“It’s going to push squads more, it’s going to provide more opportunity.

“We also start earlier, with our first game in late April (22, Western Storm at Headingley in the RHF Trophy).

“We were waiting until May to play our first competitive game this summer just gone, so that’s also a major positive that we can get going quicker.

“It’s a busy international summer as well, so I’m expecting a very interesting year with the amount of games being played.”