By Beth Wild
Arran Brindle is working hard to win her place back in the England XI ahead of the Women’s Ashes Test, which starts at the WACA next Friday.
Having missed the tour to the West Indies at the end of 2013 for family reasons, the all-rounder – who played in every match of last summer’s triumphant clash with the old enemy in England, has spent the winter finding novel ways to prepare for the blistering temperatures.
“I’ve been netting indoors since the start of September,” she told ecb.co.uk. “There are lots of things that you can do to prepare for the heat.
“You can wear extra layers and things like that – even when you are at home – so you don’t make too much of it. If you worry about the heat then it will start to bother you.”
Since arriving in Perth on New Year’s Eve, Brindle and the rest of the England squad have been making the most of training in the Australian sunshine.
“It’s been nice to actually get outside and start hitting some balls,” she added. “It’s always just about trying to adapt to different conditions, that’s the biggest challenge.
“But once you do get back outside, it starts to come back pretty quickly. We’ve done as much preparation as we can, and we are ready to go really.”
With one week to go until the Ashes gets under way with a four-day match between the sides, Brindle hopes she has done enough to get her name on the teamsheet.
“Hopefully I will get to play in the Test,” she said. “Obviously, because I missed the West Indies tour you’re always working hard to get back into the starting XI.
“Right now, it is all about taking every practice session as an opportunity to hopefully impress and get into the side.”
Bridnle’s selection chances will no doubt be aided by her experience in the longest form of the game.
She already has 10 Test caps – including seven versus Australia, whom she struck a century against during the 2005 contest.
Brindle said: “Test cricket is just a great opportunity to bat. From a selfish point of view, it’s just like a really long net.
“If you go about it like that, and don’t complicate it too much, it’s a fantastic opportunity at the start of a series to get some quality time out in the middle. If you can impact with some runs for the team, it’s a really good way to start.”
Brindle made headlines in 2011 when she became the first woman to score a century in men’s semi-professional cricket, hitting 128 for Louth against Market Deeping in the Lincolnshire ECB Men’s Premier League.
She believes that playing men’s cricket will stand her in good stead on the fast bouncy wicket which is likely to be prepared at the WACA next week.
“Pace and bounce is just another thing to adapt to – if you can get set at the start of your innings, you give yourself the best chance to cash in later on,” she enthused.
“So it is simply a case of taking your time, and having a look at the conditions.”
In addition to the start of the Test next Friday, Brindle is also looking forward to the arrival of her husband James and son Harry, who will be in the stands cheering her on.
“The first 10 days of this tour is my hardest part,” she admitted. “I can concentrate on the cricket side of things, but it’s the down-time, that’s when I start to think about home.
“It’s all about counting the days off – Harry has got his little calendar thing at home as well, so I really can’t wait for the 10th to come around.”
Follow the Women's Ashes ball-by-ball via the following media:
Live Scores: www.ecb.co.uk and www.cricket.com.au
Twitter: @ECB_cricket and @SouthernStars
Television: live stream at www.cricket.com.au
Radio: 5 Live Sports Extra, ABC Grandstand or online via www.cricket.com.au/live/audio-stream