Tag Archives: Heather Knight

Knight primed for England’s latest Ashes battle down under

England skipper Heather Knight has branded her side’s rise to the top of the world rankings as “an even bigger incentive” to do well in this winter’s Ashes series in Australia.

Knight’s side snatched the top spot from the Aussies following their World Cup triumph against India in July, wining a thrilling final in front of a capacity crowd at Lord’s by nine runs.

It meant Australia lost their place at the summit of the women’s game for the first time since October 2015.

But speaking at the launch of a new salad she has helped to create with London-based healthy eating outlet Squirrel, the 26 year-old (pictured above, centre) said that while success down under would consolidate England’s status, the team is chasing far more.

“To get to world No.1 is great but we want to keep pushing forward and keep pushing the women’s game in the right direction as well. It’s moving at such a pace, and to stay at the top we’re going to have to keep working really hard.

“The Ashes is the biggest rivalry in cricket and what you want to be involved in as a player.”

Turnaround

England have experienced a remarkable 18 months since Charlotte Edwards was acrimoniously removed as captain, with the leadership handed to Knight.

But coach Mark Robinson has guided the team through some troubled waters.

‘We’ve got a good core of girls in their mid-20s, which is quite nice looking to the future’
– Heather Knight

“When Robbo [Robinson] came in he told us a quote that sums him up perfectly: ‘My job as a coach is to challenge the comfortable and comfort the challenged’.

“He’s not afraid to give us a rocket if he thinks we need it, but he’s also there to try to get the best out of us.”

The former Sussex man has done something no England coach has ever achieved by winning a 50-over global tournament, with his style receiving high praise from Knight.

“He’s very much a people person, it’s quite scary how perceptive he is sometimes, but he challenges us when we need it. That balance works very well.

“We’re a very together group with a culture of honesty, we want to be honest with players when things aren’t going well.”

Next generation

England are fortunate to cross the globe with a settled squad, with 12 of the current line-up having tasted success in the previous thwarting of the Baggy Green in the 2013 series, a period which Knight fondly recalls as “one of my finest memories in an England shirt”.

Heather Knight
Skipper Knight has every confidence in her squad

“We’ve got a good core of girls in their mid-20s, which is quite nice looking to the future, but we’ve got a few senior heads. Katherine Brunt is the oldest [at 32], which she hates!”

But it was 18 year-old Sophie Ecclestone’s inclusion which came as something of a shock. The spinner only left school in the summer, but will challenge Danielle Hazell and Danni Wyatt to be the premier twirler in the squad.

“Sophie is a really great young girl, really enthusiastic but she often talks very fast and can be quite hard to understand! But she has spent a lot of time around the group and knows the girls very well, she is not shy, that’s for sure.”

“Sophie played in a lot of our warm-up games leading up to the World Cup and has deserved her selection thoroughly. I’m really excited to see what she can do.”

Heather Knight was speaking at the launch of the ‘Green Knight’ salad, part of the ‘Best In Field’ series of dishes from Squirrel. Images courtesy of KK Communications. You can follow Heather on Twitter 

Heather Knight

‘Let’s not make World Cup win a one off’

Accusations of under-performing in big tournaments are now a distant memory for Heather Knight and her England team after they defeated India at Lord’s in a nail-biting contest to win the Women’s World Cup for the second time in three attempts.

“To do it on home soil at Lord’s in front of 26,000 people, and millions watching all over the world, it’s what dreams are made of,” said Knight.

The 26-year-old is, however, not keen to dwell on that success. “We don’t want to stop here, it’s important to keep pushing, and we want to drive the women’s game forward.”

Women’s cricket has already taken tremendous strides in recent times – in the space of just 10 years, it’s seen a rise of more than 650% in new women’s cricket clubs.

The ECB’s Director of England Women’s Cricket, Claire Connor, is excited for the future, saying: ‘There is a great area of potential, especially with the arrival of the All Stars Cricket programme. The future is bright, that’s for sure.”

So how does it get better than this for the female game?

Spotlight

“Of course, the World Cup win is going to be difficult to top, it was such a great day for women’s sport and you don’t want that to be a one-off,” said Knight at the launch of a new salad she has helped to create with health food company Squirrel.

Heather Knight
Knight is relishing England’s upcoming Ashes challenge

“We recognise these sort of days don’t come around that often, and that’s why it’s vital that we keep the women’s game in the spotlight.”

That spotlight should continue to shine on the England team for some time yet as there is a small matter of an upcoming Ashes series in Australia, which Knight admits won’t be easy.

“It’s a tough place to go as you feel like the whole country is against you.”

“As everybody knows, the Australians love to beat the English, so that’s something you have to deal with, but we’re just concentrating on ourselves.”

Influential Australian captain Meg Lanning will miss the series through injury, but the England skipper believes the void left by her opposite number will be filled.

“Of course, any team in the world would miss Meg, but they have a great batting line-up as we saw in the World Cup, with many able replacements, so we’re expecting a tough battle.”

Determination

The Rochdale born right-hander has proven in her time in charge that she is exactly the person you want to lead you into such a battle.

She handled the fall-out from predecessor Charlotte Edwards losing the captaincy with professionalism and an inner determination to prove people wrong – all characteristics of this current England team.

‘We’ve got a lot of younger players and lots of potential, so we want to keep dominating for as long as possible’ – Heather Knight

So what of the future?

Long-term ambitions in sport often fall foul of fluctuating form and fortune, but Knight has no qualms in discussing hers.

“I want to continue as captain and see how far we can go. We’ve got a lot of younger players and lots of potential, so we want to keep dominating for as long as possible.”

One of those younger players is 18-year-old, Sophie Ecclestone. The Lancastrian missed last winter’s tour of Sri Lanka due to school commitments, but Knight believes she’s a star in the making.

“Sophie has a great future ahead of her with plenty of potential, and we’re looking forward to having her in Australia.”

England have recently overtaken Australia as the world’s number one-ranked women’s side, which will add some extra spice heading into that first ODI at Brisbane in late October.

Heather Knight was speaking at the launch of the ‘Green Knight’ salad, part of the ‘Best In Field’ series of dishes from London-based healthy eating outlet Squirrel. Images courtesy of KK Communications. You can follow Heather on Twitter