James Carr stuck in neutral as he prepares to drive women’s game forward

James Carr, the new regional director of women’s cricket for the North East and Yorkshire, says he will not be “reinventing the wheel” when it comes to growing the female game within the regions.

England's Danielle Hazell: Inspiring.

Carr has been appointed as one of the eight heads of the new regional centres of excellence, a structure brought in by the ECB as they bid to drive that area of the game forwards.

The North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, South West and Wales, South Central, London and South East and London and East are the other seven centres.

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Wigan-born Carr’s job is effectively the women’s equivalent of Yorkshire CCC men’s director of cricket Martyn Moxon, and he has prervious experience in performance-related jobs in New Zealand and Scotland.

Carr has been in post since late March, but he is yet to spend a day in his new office at Emerald Headingley due to the coronavirus-enforced nationwide lockdown.

Carr is looking at things as more evolution than revolution.

He said: “Even though this is a new domestic structure here, we’re not going to throw the baby out with the bath water when there’s already some really good stuff happening in Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland.

“There’s already some really good structures and practices in place. It’s just about fine tuning them rather than reinventing the wheel.

“There’s some passionate people at the respective county boards who are trying very, very hard to develop the game for the women in clubland and through their county age-group programmes.”

An obvious aim for Carr is to continue to produce England cricketers such as Katherine Brunt and Lauren Winfield, effectively ensuring ‘A strong Yorkshire is a strong England’. But it is far from his only goal.

“Historically, Yorkshire and the North East have produced international cricketers,” he said.

“Look at Danielle Hazell, the coach of our Hundred team. She’s a North East girl and was a 50-over World Cup winner as recently as the 2017 summer. We’ve got Katherine and Lauren as well.

“If the North East, as the region is called but includes Yorkshire, is prospering, then England will prosper.

“It is about producing international cricketers, of course it is. But it’s much more holistic than that.

“It’s actually about associating cricket as a female sport.

“There’s a place for women at all levels and ages to be involved in the game, playing or otherwise.

“My role is performance-related, but the women’s game will be nothing without the engine room – youngsters playing All Stars cricket and playing with a hard ball for the first time at their clubs.

“It really is a very holistic approach we’ve got to take.

“We will always produce England cricketers. There will always be enough cream to supply an England team. But how do we keep stretching ourselves to get stronger and stronger?

“Our arch-rivals Australia have got some serious depth and professionalism within their game, and we’ve got to try and match them on that.”

Carr grew up playing his cricket in the Bolton Association for Golborne, the club where current Nottinghamshire captain Steven Mullaney first caught the cricket bug.

He has since worked in development roles with the Southland CA in New Zealand and for Cricket Scotland, when he was based in Edinburgh.

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