England women have the exciting prospect of the Ashes with a new format in August, but for now they are concentrating on their opening assignment of the summer versus Pakistan.
For the first time, the women’s Ashes will be contested over a Test, three one-day internationals and as many Twenty20 internationals. Six points will be awarded to the winners of the Test and two for each limited-overs victory, with the team collecting the most points winning the urn.
Before then, England play two ODIs - the first is on Monday - and two T20Is versus Pakistan next week, all at Loughborough, with the T20 games on the same day.
Off-spinner Danni Hazell is set to feature against Pakistan and Australia, yet her focus is on the former.
“We treat each international game like any other,” she told ecb.co.uk in her north-east accent. “We’re going out to win this series and we’re really looking forward to this. This is our focus for now and then obviously the Ashes in August.
“We’ve played Pakistan a few times now and they’re obviously an upcoming side. They’re a good team. We won’t underestimate them. We’re looking to win these games and really take that forward into the summer.”
The Ashes starts with the Test at Wormsley from August 11. If Hazell plays, it will be just her second Test, having been in the team that surrendered the urn in Australia during January 2011.
“We don’t play too many Test matches,” she added. “We’ll prepare for that once we’re past the Pakistan series and build into the one-dayers and Twenty20s as well.
“It’s going to keep the series going longer with the points system. We’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a closely-fought contest and hopefully we can get some good crowds in and they can really get behind us.”
Hazell and her England colleagues have had time away from the international game since missing out on defending their World Cup title in February.
“We had a little bit of time to regroup and to spend a bit of time at home. We’re fully back into cricket now and looking forward to the Pakistan series,” she explained.
“It was disappointing but we reflected on that and we’re now looking forward to the summer coming up; obviously a big summer with Pakistan first and then the Ashes.”
Hazell has been working under Paul Shaw, the new head of England women’s performance, who succeeded Mark Lane after he stepped down as head coach.
“It’s been really good,” Hazell enthused. “We’ve got new plans in place and new structures in place and we’re all looking forward to how things are going to go.
“People are slightly different. People have slightly different views on certain situations, but the main goal is that we’re all behind each other and all looking to this Pakistan series to come out with all wins and then, leading into the Ashes, push on from there.”