Contesting a global tournament is motivation in itself, but for England’s Women’s World T20 squad, their campaign on Australian soil will also carry an inevitable desire to make things right.
It is a fact not lost on Natalie Sciver as she prepares for her fourth T20 World Cup with an England squad comprising vast experience and raw youth, a new coaching set-up and more than an notion of something to prove after a disappointing home Ashes defeat during the English summer.
“A lot has changed since then for us really,” Sciver told ESPNcricinfo on Friday. “As a group we’re in a good space to put that series behind us and hopefully get a few wins.”
Sciver and Katherine Brunt form not only part of England’s experienced core but two thirds of a triple all-round threat identified by new coach Lisa Keightley along with Georgia Elwiss, who joins the squad in place of spinner Kirstie Gordon as the only change to the England touring party which defeated Pakistan in three ODIs and two completed T20Is in Malaysia last month.
During that series, Sciver struck an 85-ball century in the second ODI shortly after a successful WBBL season with Keightley’s Perth Scorchers where she made 342 runs in 13 appearances at an average of 38.00 and with a strike rate of 123.02.
Sciver has enjoyed some personally satisfying moments in the shortest format, becoming the first English cricketer to take a T20I hat-trick, against New Zealand in 2013, and the first woman to hit a six at the inaugural WBBL in 2015, but to win the World Cup final on March 8 would be something else.
“After the summer we had, I think it would be really special,” Sciver said. “To be able to keep putting ourselves out there as a team and compete and put ourselves out there to succeed or to fail, as a squad that’s all we can ask of ourselves, to be able to turn up and do the best that we can with the conditions that we’ve got, so looking forward to hopefully putting a few things to right.”
Sciver said going straight from their 12-4 defeat in the multi-format Ashes series into the Kia Super League, meant many players didn’t have time to deal with the disappointment until much later.
“We probably put a few things on hold until after the KSL and really waited for that time off to kind of re-set and make sure that we’re fresh again to go in the winter,” she said. “It’s motivation in itself to be in a world tournament and on the world stage and hopefully show everyone what we can do again and just make sure that we’re kind of in our own bubble.”
Elwiss returned to action during the drawn Ashes Test after a stress fracture in her back had put her out of the game for five months. She last featured at a T20 World Cup with a solitary match in 2016, scoring a duck and claiming 2 for 9 in England’s emphatic win over Pakistan in Chennai. But Keigthley said it was her two years’ experience playing for Melbourne Stars in the WBBL that helped seal her place this year, with England to open their tournament against South Africa in Perth on Februray 23.
“We looked at what we had and I though we had probably too many spinners for what we need out in Australia so we’ve opted for a couple of seamers,” Keightley said.
“For Georgia, she covers two skill sets with the ball and with the bat. Georgia has played in Australia in the WBBL and done really well out there so for me she was an important inclusion into our team to give us options and a player who’s got experience out on Australian pitches and her variations will come in handy out there.”
England have named their squad for the Women’s #T20WorldCup
After defeat in the final in 2018, will they bring the trophy home this time? pic.twitter.com/hwfEpDyUS4
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 17, 2020
The England squad has four players aged 24 or under with Freya Davies, Sarah Glenn and Mady Villiers all set to make their T20 World Cup debuts and spinner Sophie Ecclestone somewhat of a veteran at the age of just 20, having been part of the side which finished runners-up to Australia in 2018.
For 24-year-old Davies – who has played just five T20Is – it could be a baptism of fire if called upon as part of England’s pace attack at the WACA, but Keightley has every faith in her.
“I think she’ll be fine because a lot of people don’t know what Freya Davies does,” Keightley said. “It’s quite nice to have a few players that are unknown and teams aren’t sure what they do. You have to take your time and have a look and in T20 you can’t do that for too long.
“I’d be telling her to play how she’s played, that works, that’s got her here, and not to go too far away from that. If she can do that, I think she’ll go pretty well.”
The squad leaves for Australia on January 22 for a warm-up T20 tri-series against Australia and India.
Meanwhile, the ECB have announced that England Women will host India for two T20Is starting at Taunton on June 25 and four ODIs from July 1 in Worcester, followed by two T20s and four one-dayers against South Africa starting in Hove at the beginning of September.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo