Dani Hazell learning as she goes in dual role as Northern Superchargers and Northern Diamonds head coach

Dani Hazell is not one for marking time.

Questions about the longevity of her career are batted away with a straight-talking: ‘you’re making me feel old’. Reminders of that groundbreaking World Cup win she played a part in greeted with a rhetorical: ‘is it really that long ago?’

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Dani Hazell charged up for Northern Superchargers' 2023 The Hundred campaign

For the record, Hazell is still only 34 and England’s World Cup win came in the summer of 2017, five and a half years ago.

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Dual role: Dani Hazell is the head coach of Northern Superchargers in The Hundred and the Northern Diamonds as she puts 20 years in cricket to good use. (Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images)Dual role: Dani Hazell is the head coach of Northern Superchargers in The Hundred and the Northern Diamonds as she puts 20 years in cricket to good use. (Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Dual role: Dani Hazell is the head coach of Northern Superchargers in The Hundred and the Northern Diamonds as she puts 20 years in cricket to good use. (Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images)

It’s just Hazell has been such a prominent figure in the growth of women’s cricket, you’d think she had been around for ages.

She certainly started young, joining Durham’s Academy as a 14-year-old in 2002 and moving to Yorkshire six years later.

Whenever there has been a landmark advancement in the growth of women’s cricket, Hazell has been involved. In 2008 she was awarded one of the first-ever ECB contracts for women; played in the buccaneering national team that won the World Cup nine years later, and then in 2021, was named the first coach of the women’s Northern Superchargers in The Hundred, the ECB’s radical format designed at bringing new audiences into cricket.

“You don’t want to retire having had any regrets,” she says of her glittering career, which she ended internationally in 2019.

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World Cup winner: England bowler Dani Hazell celebrates dismissing Alyssa Healy during the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 match between England and Australia at The Brightside Ground on July 9, 2017 in Bristol, England. (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)World Cup winner: England bowler Dani Hazell celebrates dismissing Alyssa Healy during the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 match between England and Australia at The Brightside Ground on July 9, 2017 in Bristol, England. (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
World Cup winner: England bowler Dani Hazell celebrates dismissing Alyssa Healy during the ICC Women's World Cup 2017 match between England and Australia at The Brightside Ground on July 9, 2017 in Bristol, England. (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“I’m proud of what I’ve done but the coaching side of it is really exciting for me, to even have the chance to be involved in it is fantastic.”

The coaching arc of Hazell’s career began with the Yorkshire Diamonds in 2019, before they became the Northern Diamonds the following year - a team that draws on the best female cricketers from the two counties closest to her heart, Durham and Yorkshire.

She was the natural choice to be head coach of the Northern Superchargers at the dawn of The Hundred in 2021; two coaching roles, something unfathomable in the largely amateur days of her career.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen once I finished playing, I’d have tried to stay in cricket whether these opportunities arose or hadn’t, or whether it had have been just in local cricket,” she says. “I’m very fortunate that women’s cricket has taken the turn that it has and in the timeframe that I’ve been involved.

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Dani Hazell, will lead the Northern Superchargers Women for a third season in 2023. (Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images)Dani Hazell, will lead the Northern Superchargers Women for a third season in 2023. (Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Dani Hazell, will lead the Northern Superchargers Women for a third season in 2023. (Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images)

“The World Cup success just propelled women’s cricket. It was already on the up, but it accelerated it.

“Everything is moving forward. For me there’s opportunities in other coaching areas now and long may that continue for the girls who are playing now.”

Creating a pathway for girls is something close to Hazell’s heart.

“We’ve got the women’s regional set-up now, players are able to practice every day,” she continues, “the more that it’s seen by young girls that you can do that, it’s just going to open up pathways. When I started playing you couldn’t say that.”

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And The Hundred is proving a great accelerant for the women’s game, with 271,000 fans attending the matches last summer.

“For young girls to be able to see that the women’s game is prominent and there is an opportunity for them if that’s the path they want to choose is encouraging to see,” she says.

And whether she’s coaching the Diamonds whose season begins in April, or the Superchargers who have to wait until August, Hazell is always learning from the people around her.

“The opportunity to be around Yorkshire, speaking to coaches around here, there’s lots of things that creep up on you here and there but you just learn from it,” she says.

“I don’t look at it as if I’m going to work, I’m just happy to still be involved in cricket, it’s been a huge part of my life.”