Lydia Greenway. South London and proud, via two World Cups and over 200 matches for England. She's looking to inspire the next generation of players. And build something brilliant in Beckenham.
SO, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE HUNDRED?
It’s something new for the game and an opportunity to work with not only the best players in the country but some of the best players from around the world, which is really exciting. It’s also about having the opportunity to work with domestic players and help develop.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU EXPECTING?
There will be a lot of unknowns that as a group we’ll have to adapt to quite quickly. But I think we can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s still the basics of cricket, with batting, bowling and fielding, so from that point of view it’s about doing them well. Do the basics well and then learn the quirks of the new format and how we might adapt in certain situations.
TALK US THROUGH YOUR ROLE AS HEAD COACH…
One of the best things about working in The Hundred is that I’ll be working with some of the best players in the world, so it’s not as if we’re teaching them how to play cricket, we’ll provide them with the best platform to allow them to be the best player the can be.
That’s what is really exciting about the role and the rest of it we’ll be learning quite quickly and picking each others’ brains on in terms of the new aspects of the game that we need to pick up on.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE PLAYERS SHOULD APPROACH THINGS?
I’m sure it’ll be very different. Obviously the basics will still be there, but the tactical elements within the game will be things we have to adapt to. How do we deal with the possibility of having 10 balls in a row? Will we keep a bowler on for all 10 balls or break it up with two separate bowlers? So small things like that will be for the captains to work out as we go. It’ll be very exciting counting down the 100 balls and that’s something that will hopefully connect with the crowds.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A COACH…
When I retired from cricket in 2016 I was fortunate to spend some time out in India with some of the England Academy players on a batting camp. That was my first real elite coaching experience. I’d done a lot of group and individual coaching at school, club and county level but the India trip was one of the best experiences I could have asked for.
From that point I took on the Head Women’s Coach role at Kent for a couple of years. I was working with international players and also players who were coming through the system, so that threw up some challenges in how you work with those different players to get the best out of everyone.
I’ve also started my own coaching initiative, Cricket for Girls, which is very much a grassroots and participation-based initiative.
So I’ve worked across the full spectrum and this is now another exciting step in my coaching pathway.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO COACH?
It is something that I’m hugely passionate about. When you’re working with players who want to get better and improve all of the time, that’s special. As a coach it’s your job to guide them as much as you can to help them achieve what their goals are in their career.
The other aspect I like about coaching, especially looking ahead to The Hundred, is the team element – as a group of players and coaches we’ve got a blank canvas in terms of how we set the team culture and environment. That’s something that excites me hugely about this competition. This first year will be where the clubs – both men and women – can really set a high-quality environment of players and people.
WHAT WILL THE HUNDRED DO FOR FEMALE COACHES?
I think this is the best opportunity we’ve got to have a great experience in an elite environment, developing a culture and a team that can be successful. For us it’s a hugely exciting proposition and something I feel extremely privileged to have the chance to do. And hopefully we’ll have a bit of fun along the way!
AND WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN’S GAME IN GENERAL?
The level of financial support will be brilliant in terms of moving the game forward. It’s certainly the next step in having a larger pool of players for England to pick from. This will only improve if players are supported from a financial point of view because it frees up a bit of their time to dedicate to becoming better cricketers. The Hundred will definitely give talented female players an opportunity to play, but may also encourage some of the older players in the game to continue whereas in years gone by they may have retired because of the lack of financial support.
HOW WILL ENGLAND BENEFIT FROM THE HUNDRED?
It will provide another platform for domestic players to step forward and make their case for selection on a stage that is as close to international cricket as you can get. It’s on television, played in front of big crowds under big pressure. That’s something that, at times, we have lacked before outside the Kia Super League.
The important thing for England to be successful is for the players to have had really challenging experiences in domestic cricket – winning the tight moments in the game and performing under pressure.
WOULD YOU HAVE ENJOYED TAKING PART AS A PLAYER?
I would have been hugely excited! I remember when the Women’s Big Bash League happened, which was the first of its kind for women. There was a real buzz among the players about having the opportunity to go out to Australia to play in different conditions and with different players.
We’ve seen it over the years – when the world’s best players come together in a team it makes for really exciting cricket. If you’ve got people like Alyssa Healy and Suzie Bates coming up against each other it makes for entertaining viewing.
SOUTH LONDON, THEN…
The first draw is that it is a London-based franchise. We’re going to be based out at Beckenham, which is only 20 minutes outside of London on the train. From that point of view the club has a brilliant opportunity to market and promote the game and draw on the appetite for cricket in the area. The fact that we’re so close to London gives us a great opportunity to grow a good fanbase.
HOW WOULD YOU SELL THE HUNDRED TO SOMEONE WHO CURRENTLY ISN’T INTO CRICKET?
Even fans who know the game inside out are going to have to learn the new rules and understand the new format. It’s a good opportunity for new spectators to come on board and not feel left out in terms of not having followed the game for years. Everyone is going to be new to the game and that will be nice for the newer spectators.
CHOOSE ONE PLAYER FOR YOUR SQUAD…
There are a few and it’s really hard to single out one! For me it’s about cricket and skill, but also character, so someone like Rachael Haynes, who is vice-captain of Australia, has some amazing qualities. She has demonstrated that she can be a match-winner in really tough situations and she has some great leadership qualities as well. She’d be brilliant at driving the team culture forward.
AND ANY PLAYER FROM THE PAST?
Am I allowed to pick two?! The first would be Cathryn Fitzpatrick, who is the quickest bowler in the women’s game to date. The second would be another Aussie in Karen Rolton. Both players were just unbelievable at what they did.