After the disappointment of England’s men in trying to regain the Ashes from Australia, it is the turn now for the Women to show the men up. The aim for England’s women team will be to regain the Ashes and then defend the 50 over World Cup won in 2017.
The recent Covid enforced reorganising of the Ashes schedule means the series will be condensed into a three week block. The three match T20s will now start on Thursday, followed by the one off test and three ODIs. From there, the players will fly to New Zealand to being a ten day quarantine, before the World Cup starts for both sides on 5th March.
Big challenges ahead for Knight
England captain Heather Knight has faced some big challenges in her five year spell, but the months that lie ahead of her is certainly her biggest to date.
Interestingly, her opposite number Meg Lanning, took a break after the conclusion of the Big Bash League in November.
England’s preparations for the forthcoming tour have already been badly hit. The spread of Omicron worldwide has already had serious implications. Players have been isolating at home since Christmas in order to fly to Australia covid free.
Cricket Australia imposing strict restrictions
In response to Covid outbreaks in both camps, Cricket Australia has imposed serious restrictions on the women’s teams. The girls are not allowed to go out to dinner anywhere. They are only allowed to socialise outdoors and to keep at a safe distance.
Despite these precautions, England have already run into a problem. A member of the England camp support staff recorded a positive test on Friday. Due to strict quarantine rules, if a player is not Covid free on 9th February, they will miss the World Cup.
Big challenge for England
It has been a challenge for England as much of their pre-season training camp was focused on red ball cricket. The first test was due to be the curtain raiser, but this has now changed.
Knight will lead England’s assault on both fronts. On Australian wickets she excels. In Camberra the skipper shines, as was shown in February 2020 where she hit her maiden T20 hundred. Canberra will host the only test and first ODI of the series.
Could be Knight’s finest achievement
If England can go on and do better than their men counterparts, it would surely be the finest achievement in the English women’s game. Beating the Aussies- the World number one side- would make up for the inadequate showing from our men down under.
First T20 international (Adelaide) – January 20
– Second T20 international (Adelaide) – January 22
– Third T20 international (Adelaide) – January 23
Test match (Canberra) – January 27-30
First one-day international (Canberra) – February 3
– Second one-day international (Melbourne) – February 6
– Third one-day international (Melbourne) – February 8