Getting the balance right
Posted in England Women
I have had a busy month after getting back from Bangalore balancing the demands of my cricket and my work experience at the University of Sydney.
I’ve found that Sydney wickets are generally good batting tracks but will still offer something for the bowlers early on so it has been good to take the new ball for Bankstown. I have taken early wickets in most of the games I have played in which I am pleased with. It has also been great to have an opportunity to put into practice what we learnt in Bangalore.
I have been excited to learn about the introduction of a new Twenty20 domestic competition in England next year – all the girls will be really looking forward to it.
Since women’s cricket in England merged with the ECB the game has continuously been developing, particularly the domestic and international game, which makes you even more motivated to work hard.
It has been an amazing year for women’s cricket in England, with an Ashes win and ODI series wins over New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa and India.
That means that we go into 2009 with a lot of confidence in winning all of the major events that we play in including the ICC Women’s World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20.
Ever since we lost in the semi-final in 2005 at the ICC Women’s World Cup we have wanted to make up for our disappointments and so four years of hard work have gone into being prepared for this time round. There are only 12 weeks to go now to the start of the event and we get excited every time we talk about it.
It will be different to play tournament cricket as opposed to playing a series as there are no second chances. This is something we have been working hard on over the last year. We always knew we had the talent but we seem to now be applying ourselves in match situations to such an extent that we win games even when we're not playing at our best. Mark Lane, the England coach, has instilled this way of thinking into our approach to help us win more games of cricket consistently. There is also greater depth in the team with more players putting in match-winning performances.
There have been so many good moments in 2008 it is hard to choose my favourite, but my personal highlight would be the Bowral Test Match to retain the Ashes. Before this match I had struggled to get into the side but I took my chance taking nine wickets, and have not looked back since. It was a turning point for me as a cricketer and since then I have really felt that I belong at this level.
Living with some of my England teammates, we are all looking forward to spending Christmas together in the Australian sunshine. Jenny Gunn will be coming over from Perth so it will be nice to catch up with her. Although we will be looking to relax and have fun, we will still be disciplined in our training knowing that there is not long to go now.
Fitness is massively important as the rigours of playing two major world tournaments in the space of a few months, along with the Ashes and ODI series, will be unlike anything we have ever done before so we need to be fully prepared in order to avoid injury.
We actually have a team pact where we always go for a run on Christmas day, no matter where we are in the world, so we fully deserve our Christmas dinner. I am quite glad I will be doing my run in the warmth of Sydney, rather than some of the girls back in the UK.
I am looking forward to the rest of the squad coming out in mid February to join all of us already in Sydney. We do our best to keep in touch with the girls back home and we are about to send a group e-mail from all the girls in Australia keeping them updated on our experiences.
We speak to Mark Lane and Charlotte Edwards on a regular basis, who I know check our scores every week, and we also keep in touch with our individual Strength and Conditioning coach who sends out our tailor-made fitness programmes regularly.
With all this preparation, one thing guaranteed is that we can’t be criticized for a lack of an effort in trying to become the first England team to win an event played under an ICC banner. Roll on 2009!
For more information on the ICC Women's World Cup go to www.icc-cricket.com