By Beth Wild
England Women fast bowler Anya Shrubsole has declared that she is fully fit and raring to go for the Women’s Ashes series, which gets underway with a Test at the WACA next week.
Following England’s first training session in Perth this morning, Shrubsole confirmed she had recovered from the groin injury that kept her out of the tour to the West Indies in October.
The 22-year-old also revealed her excitement at getting the chance to bowl on the famously fast and bouncy pitches in Australia.
“I can’t wait to bowl at the WACA," she told ecb.co.uk. "You hear about the pace there, and I’ve watched plenty of games which have been played there – it’s a ground that really excites a fast bowler.
"I think everyone is fully prepared for this Ashes tour. As a squad, we were missing a few of us through injuries during the West Indies trip before Christmas, but I can speak on behalf of all of us who missed out then – we are ready now.
The Women’s Ashes series will once again be played be played as a multi-format contest, consisting of one Test, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 fixtures, following the hugely-successful summer series, which England emerged victorious by 12 points to four.
The Test will be worth six points to the winner, meaning the victor will take a huge advantage into the one-day games.
With the Test once again opening the series – starting on January 10 – Shrubsole explained how current preparation is prioritised around the four-day clash.
“Our focus at the moment is purely on the Test match,” she added. “We’ve got a two-day warm-up match, which we are obviously looking to do well in, and then we move onto the Test.
“Once that is complete we can look at the ODIs and the T20s, but right now it’s about not thinking too far ahead, and focusing on the game that’s coming up first."
In the summer, England battled to earn a draw in the Test at Wormsley and Shrubsole hopes it will give the squad a platform to build on Down Under.
She added: “We certainly learnt a lot from the Test last year. It’s hard when we don’t play much Test cricket – it only comes around once every couple of years – so to have a back-to-back Ashes series, and another Test quite soon after the last one, will really help.”
After touching down in Perth late last night, Shrubsole and the rest of the England Women’s squad hit the ground running this morning with a fitness session to kick-start their Ashes defence, having arrived just in time to celebrate the beginning of 2014 together.
“We were rushing to get bags off the luggage van, so we could celebrate New Year as a team,” said Shrubsole. “It ended up happening in the lobby of the hotel, which was a first. But it was really nice to spend it together.”
Shrubsole and her team-mates will now be working hard over the next five weeks to ensure that this celebration is the first of many, as they aim to retain the Women’s Ashes, which they won in England last summer.
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