By Dominic Farrell
Danni Hazell praised the contributions of England’s less-experienced players towards sealing Women’s Ashes glory in Australia.
The tourists claimed an eventual 10-8 points victory in the multi-format series despite suffering a succession of injury problems.
These included enforced absences frontline seamers Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole, but off-spinner Hazell was buoyed by how impressively England’s next generation took on the added responsibility.
Lancashire’s Kate Cross marked her Test bow in memorable fashion by playing a key role in England’s ultimately decisive triumph in the series opener at Perth.
When the Ashes were retained in the first Twenty20 international at Hobart, 17-year-old Natasha Farrant took the new ball on debut.
“We’ve worked really hard over this last month – training, playing and doing a lot of travelling across Australia,” Hazell told ecb.co.uk.
“We’ve got some girls here who haven’t played too many games and they’ve come into the group really well.
“We’ve obviously lost a couple of girls through injury so the young ‘uns have to come in and work really hard.
“But I think they’ve done that and they’ve earned the right to wear the shirt.”
England’s dramatic victory at the WACA in the longest format set the tone for a keenly contested series, where Charlotte Edwards’ side won the opening match in both the one-day international and T20I sections before Australia came back strongly.
“Winning the Test match put quite a few points on the board and we worked really hard in that Test match,” Hazell said.
“It was a tough pitch; it was a real slog for us. Over the last few games it was about getting over the line with that one more game.
“We did that and now we’re looking forward to when they come back to England.”
Having also been part of the team that secured Ashes glory at home last summer, Hazell revealed retaining the crown in Australia was extra special
“It’s brilliant,” she added. “You get a little bit of stick over here, being English, but we have worked really hard and we’re proud of what we’ve done over here.”