Mark Robinson explains the decision to release Tash Farrant from her central contract
By Kalika Mehta
Last Updated: 10/02/19 5:24pm
England Women’s head coach Mark Robinson has said “you have to be cruel to be kind” in explaining the decision to release Tash Farrant and Beth Langston from their central contracts.
Farrant played her sole one-day international against the Windies in November 2013 and made 14 T20I appearances between 2013-18, the last of which came in June 2018 in the Tri-series against New Zealand.
The 22-year-old was an unused member of the 15-player squad for the World T20, where England lost to Australia in the final, while 26-year-old Langston has not played an international game since November 2016 as she battled a series of recurring injuries.
Farrant has spent much of her five-year international career as cover for first-choice seamers Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt and has seen young pace bowler Katie George usurp her in the pecking order in the last year.
"Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind to players," Robinson said. "What you don't want to be doing is releasing players at the age of 26 and you've just messed up their whole life.
"The transition from a promising young seamer to one that is able to have a repeatable-enough reaction is not an easy one.
"It was a hard decision with Tash because she is a model pro, she does everything right, she gives herself every opportunity but she doesn't play and that is really hard.
"She went to the Windies (for the Women's World T20) where we targeted her to play, there were wickets that suited her but she didn't play and that is a lot of disappointment for a young person, to keep having that tap on the shoulder to say 'bad luck'.
"With young players you don't want to string them along. It is a lot of disappointment sometimes, you've not made this tour, you've not made the XI, that is a lot of mental setbacks.
"We couldn't necessarily see her playing in the next couple years and it is unfair to have her as just a cover bowler where she has already been doing that for three or four years."
Farrant and Langston have a grace period and will remain supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for the next three months, including financially and medically.
The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) will also support the players in deciding their next steps and offer opportunities for further study if wanted with the current English women's domestic set-up still amateur.
New managing director of women's cricket Clare Connor is leading a revamp of the domestic structure, with the aim to introduce at least semi-professional T20 and 50-over tournaments in 2020 alongside 'The Hundred' that will also begin next year - replacing current professional 20-over tournament the Kia Super League (KSL).
"Tash now has a choice," Robinson added. "She can go in a different direction in her life or she can hang in there and see where she is in two more years.
"She might reinvent [herself] and come back and be a major player but we want people who can win games for England not just fill a squad and make up the 19.
"Hopefully with the new domestic structure that comes through from 2020 there will be a way for girls to stay in the game.
"That is Clare's goal and everybody's hope, that in a year's time there is a new structure so when somebody gets released they can remain at least semi-professional.
"For now, for Beth and Tash the decision to make is do they play in the KSL and county cricket and then the year after (2020), when hopefully a semi-professional structure comes in, they do that or do they go down another career path? That is the unfortunate place that they are in."