In the first blog of England’s Ashes tour, left-arm spinner Alex Hartley talks rain, koalas, property development and power couples!
We’ve brought the rain to Australia! Apparently there hasn’t been any rain in Brisbane for six months but it’s here now.
Unfortunately we only got through 18 overs of our first warm-up game but we’ve got another chance on Wednesday and we feel in a pretty good place.
We arrived about a week ago and we’ve had some really good sessions since we’ve got here, mainly just trying to adapt to the conditions. There’s been quite a focus on fielding and we’ve introduced a leaderboard for direct hits – there’s a lot of pressure when they bring the whiteboard out and start tallying up who’s hit. I want 20 points if I hit the stumps from fine-leg in a match!
Although having said that I did have a go at extra-cover the other day and really surprised myself – maybe my days of fine-leg to fine-leg are up!
My future life as a zookeeper
I’ve got no intention of doing anything other than cricket for a while but I have had some new inspiration for my future life thanks to Australia’s wildlife.
I went to the zoo on our day off and I absolutely loved it – it was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I even googled “How to be a zookeeper” when I got back to the hotel!
The highlight had to be holding a koala. I loved it – it was really fluffy but I did get a little scratch, clearly she didn’t want to leave me either: something to remember her by! We did have to invest in some ponchos though – given that it literally didn’t stop raining all day.
A different kind of block
Away from the rain, the animals and the cricket it’s been great to explore Brisbane. There’s loads to do and I’m loving the sushi.
I’m basically joined to the hip with Anya Shrubsole and Dani Hazell – they’re like my mums even though Anya is basically the same age as me.
Along with Sarah Taylor we’ve really got into a show called The Block, it’s a bit like Homes Under The Hammer but you’ve got four couples doing up houses and competing to be the best. You have to find entertainment on a long tour and if zookeeping isn’t for me maybe I’ll think about property development!
The challenge ahead
Even though that day at Lord’s was so special it already feels like it was absolutely ages ago, which I think is a really good thing.
We’ve had some time away and we’ve had the Kia Super League – so we’re really refreshed and it’s actually just so nice to be back together as a group.
We’re ready for another big challenge – and we’re prepared for how tough it’s going to be. When you get this close you’re just so excited to get started.
The multi-format series is exciting for me, as it’s my first one. I’m massively looking forward to the Test and I’m desperate to be involved.
There’s a bit of competition with Soph in the squad and that makes it all the better – it’s an important reminder to keep working because nobody wants to give up their place.
Get To Know
- AKA: Hartley
- Follow on:
- Age: 24
- Domestic Team: Lancashire, Surrey Stars
- Bowling Style: Left-arm
- Fun Fact:
- Was an extra in Made in Chelsea
- Cricketing Legend:
- Monty Panesar
The other Alex
My parents are coming out soon, which is great, and then towards the end of the month my boyfriend Alex [Davies] is going to arrive in Australia because he’s coming out with the England Lions.
I hope he does really well and I’m so excited for him. He deserves it, he’s worked really hard over the last couple of years and this is hopefully another step in the right direction.
It’s been a bit of a running joke in our house that he’s already had a taste of international success because he tried on my World Cup winners’ medal in the summer so I’m hoping that will inspire him!
England face Australia in the first of the seven-match multi-format Women's Ashes series on Sunday 22 October in Brisbane (00:15 BST, 09:15 local time). Follow all of the team news and results in our dedicated England Women section.