|Women’s T20 tri-series: India v England|
|Venue: Manuka Oval, Canberra Date: 31 January|
|Coverage: Live text and report on the BBC Sport website|
England captain Heather Knight talks preparations for the tri-series, team karaokes knights and reaching a personal landmark.
We’ve been in Australia for a week now and we’re over the jet lag. On Friday, we start the tri-series with a game against India, before taking on Australia on Saturday. We then move to Melbourne to play each team again before, hopefully, a series final.
They’re obviously two of the best sides in the world so it’s a great test of where we’re at as a side ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup and we can’t wait to get going.
The air quality hasn’t been ideal while we’ve been here due to the bushfires and there’s a chance that the games may be affected by that but there’s obviously nothing we can do about it and we’ll just do what the medical people tell us. I’m sure it will all be alright and we’ll get some good prep in.
Naturally in a situation like this cricket isn’t the most important thing in the world and it’s coming over and witnessing the knock-on effects of what’s gone on that you appreciate just how awful it’s been.
It obviously makes you more aware of global warming. As a team we’re really aware of what we can do to try and improve our own impact on the environment – we obviously take a lot of flights, which is far from ideal, so we want to try and make up for that.
We’ve now got a few veggies and a vegan – for environmental reasons – and on this tour we’ve basically banned single-use plastics, which are normally a pretty big part of drinks breaks and cricket tours in general. So if you see us drinking from colourful water bottles you’ll know why!
There’s a great feeling among the squad at the minute. We’ve obviously had a lot of change since the summer and we’ve got some youngsters in the group as well as Lisa [Keightley] as head coach. We’re just desperate to get started and hopefully put that energy on the pitch.
Christmas at home
We landed back in the UK from Malaysia on the 23 December, which meant I was back for my first Christmas at home in six years.
As cricketers, we are away a lot of the time so it was lovely to be able to head back home to Devon with the family, although it was a slightly different traditional team England Christmas Day run this year, waiting for the sun to come up and layering up in the cold. The costal views definitely made up for it, though.
The tour to Kuala Lumpar to play against Pakistan in December 2019 was a good one for us, we put in some really strong performances as a team and individually.
We’ve made a bit of a shift as a side after the Ashes series in England last summer, with the girls consciously taking more responsibility for how they prepare for games and how we want to play our cricket, so it was nice to see some strong performances, especially with the batters scoring big runs.
It would have been nice to be tested and put under the pump a little more, but I was really pleased how we kept our standards high and were very professional in finishing of the games to win 5-0 (with one game lost to the heavens opening). The new faces in the squad also really impressed.
On a personal note it was a very proud moment to pick up my 100th ODI cap in the second game and see Danni Wyatt pick up her 100th T20 cap later in the trip. We both played our first game in an England shirt together nearly a decade ago and we’ve played through working part-time/studying at the start of our careers to seeing the game grow into the professional sport it is now. Hopefully we’ve got many more games in us yet.
The Kuala Lumpar trip was Ali Maiden’s last as assistant coach, as he has moved on to a job closer to home with Leicestershire. Ali is the coach who has easily had the most influence on my batting career to date, and he’s had a big impact in getting the team and many of the batters to the place they’re in now. He’ll be sorely missed and I wish him all the best.
Off the pitch, we managed to get in a team karaoke night. Luckily, with the vocal standard on show, we had our own private room. Easily the best rendition of the night was Anya Shrubsole’s word-perfect rendition of ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’ by Eminem. She didn’t even need to look at the words.
I also bagged my first ever win in the team quiz, which I’m hoping is the start of a winning run.
Viva La Manga
Rather than head back indoors in early January to start our preparation for the tri-series and T20 World Cup, we headed to La Manga Club in southern Spain for a bit of warm(ish) weather training.
It wasn’t quite as warm as we expected with some serial under packing going on. Our physio even had to order some jumpers online to get through the cold evenings.
It was fine during the day and we managed to get a week of training in and it’s been great preparation leading into Australia. It was also a really good chance to spend some time with Lisa and start working together with her.
It’s such an exciting time right now and this tournament feels a bit like a new challenge. Hopefully we can demonstrate some of the work we’ve been doing and get all the way to Melbourne to join Katy Perry when she plays at T20 World Cup final on 8 March.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport