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New dawn is extra bright for Brunt

By Rob Barnett

The Women’s Royal London One-Day Series between England and India not only marks the start of the ICC Women’s Championship, but also heralds the return of senior England bowler Katherine Brunt to international action after eight months out.

The Championship will see all competing countries play each other over a period of two and a half years, affecting qualification for the 2017 World Cup in England.

While participating in that tournament may be among 29-year-old Brunt’s long-term ambitions, she is thrilled to be playing again after so long on the sidelines.

Following her role in January’s Ashes Test win in Perth, Brunt underwent back surgery to address symptoms associated with a chronic disc bulge.

The fast bowler has returned to playing this month with England Women’s Academy, but was not ready for the one-off Kia Test at Wormsley, which India won by six wickets.

She is hoping to play in all three Royal London one-day internationals versus India, starting tomorrow in the first of two games in three days at Scarborough, with all three to be streamed on the ECB’s YouTube channel.

Brunt told ecb.co.uk: “I’m actually quite fortunate to be fit and ready to go. I didn’t think I would make it this far so I’m actually quite lucky to be here and part of the squad for this leg of the tour.

“I’m feeling really good, really raring to go. It’s been about eight months now since I’ve been on a field so I’m really looking forward to being back in general, being among the squad and hopefully contributing to some wins.”

Brunt was a spectator during the Kia Test, but Jenny Gunn was in the thick of it as India pulled off a surprise in their maiden Test for eight years.

Brunt’s fellow seamer shone in the first innings, returning astonishing figures of 18-9-19-5, and feels England will be better prepared for the ODIs.

Gunn told ecb.co.uk: “They had eight debutantes in that game, which we’d never seen before, so having played in the Test match we’ve seen a lot of them now and know what their players do, how they bat and things.

“I think it’s really good for us that we know what we’re going to get with the bat now. Yeah, they won a Test match but we like the one-day format so we’re going to come hard at them.”

England captain Charlotte Edwards will want to make amends for the Test loss and is excited for the start of the one-day series.

“As players, the new ICC Women’s Championship is a fantastic concept,” she said, adding: “It gives us real structure leading into the ICC Women’s World Cup in England in 2017, and makes every ODI series that we play between now and then significant. 

“Whenever I step out to play for England I want to win, but now more than ever before, every result really does matter.”

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