Former England Women’s international and current Central Sparks Head of Cricket Laura MacLeod will lead the new Bears Women professional side from next season.

MacLeod – who made 89 appearances for England between 1997 and 2007 – will oversee all squad, coaching and cricket operations.

Bears Women is one of eight fully professional teams set to play in a new national structure in 2025 following a multi-million pound expansion of the women’s game by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

MacLeod said it was an honour to lead the side into a new era of women’s cricket in Birmingham.

“It’s a big project overseeing the transition from Sparks to Bears,” she said, “and becoming immersed in the development of the new brand as well as the continued elevation of the on-field performance

“It’s time to build on the success of The Hundred and give many more young women the hope and belief they too can have a professional playing career in cricket.

“It’ll be a huge thrill to see girls walking around Birmingham in Bears shirts with the names of their favourite players like Jones, Wong, and Perrin printed on the back.” 

Warwickshire Performance Director Gavin Larsen said Macleod’s knowledge of women’s professional cricket and girls youth pathway cricket will be invaluable.

He added: “Her expertise around all things women’s cricket will be crucial as we build our new Bears Women environment.

“We’d love to hit the ground running in the new professional system and make Bears Women, and Birmingham, an epicentre for women’s cricket.

“We have a strong group of contracted players, with the potential of some new signings, and with Laura’s expertise at the helm I think the future is bright.

“The Club has been extremely supportive and it’s an exciting time as we look ahead.”

Over 13,000 sold for Women’s IT20 vs Pakistan

Pakistan Women will be in Birmingham on Saturday 11 May 2024 and over 13,000 tickets have already been sold.

With the Men’s IT20 already sold out, this is your last chance to see Pakistan at Edgbaston next summer and tickets are available from only £17, with under 16s £5.