Ecclestone, England’s No. 1-ranked white-ball spinner, sustained the injury while warming up for Manchester Originals’ home fixture against Southern Brave at Old Trafford in August, and underwent surgery in September.
She has since returned to bowling, and will step up her workloads during a training camp in Oman next week, ahead of England’s three T20Is in Mumbai between December 6 and 10, and their one-off four-day Test in Navi Mumbai from December 14-17.
“She’s the No. 1 bowler in the world across both white-ball formats, she’s an obvious standout talent in women’s cricket,” Lewis said. “She’s a really good competitor, she loves winning. So she’s great to have around our side. For the girls to practice against a bowler like that, and for Charlie Dean and Sarah Glenn to pick her brains, and Alice Capsey as well, will be invaluable.
“She’s working her way back to fitness. We expect her to be fit to play. However, getting people back to fitness isn’t always a linear experience,” Lewis added. “So we’ll see how she progresses over the next three or four weeks. The medical people are telling me she will be [fit], but my experience tells me that’s not always straightforward. The thing that could be more tricky for her is hitting the ground when she fields.”
Ecclestone’s fitness aside, the white-ball leg of England’s tour could be a key indicator of the team’s readiness for next winter’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, as well as an early taste of the conditions that could be prevalent at the next 50-over World Cup in India in 2025.
“We haven’t toured India for a number of years,” Lewis said. “We have players who have experienced playing in the Women’s Premier League but many haven’t played international cricket there before. Playing in Indian conditions is great preparation for our next two World Cups in the subcontinent and will be an amazing learning opportunity for both the players and the staff. We respect the Indian team and are really looking forward to the challenge.”
“It’s an exciting squad,” Lewis said. “We’ve got three teenagers in there still. They’re getting slightly older, slightly more experienced, and there’s a lovely balance between youth and experience in the squad.
“It’s a squad that reflects some players that came in against Sri Lanka and did nicely, but also the players that did really well to beat Australia 2-1 in the [white-ball] series in the summer as well.”
England’s selectors have also named a 21-player A squad that will prepare in Oman from November 12-25, with a reduced 14-player squad to be named in due course to face India A in three T20Is.
T20I squad: Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Alice Capsey, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Mahika Gaur, Danielle Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Bess Heath, Amy Jones, Freya Kemp, Heather Knight (capt), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt.
Test squad: Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Bell, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Lauren Filer, Bess Heath, Amy Jones, Heather Knight (capt), Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt
England A squad for Oman training camp: Hollie Armitage, Hannah Baker, Alice Davidson-Richards, Georgia Davis, Charlie Dean, Tash Farrant, Lauren Filer, Mahika Gaur, Kirstie Gordon, Liberty Heap, Freya Kemp, Emma Lamb, Ryana MacDonald-Gay, Kalea Moore, Sophie Munro, Grace Potts, Grace Scrivens, Seren Smale, Rhianna Southby, Mady Villiers, Issy Wong
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket
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