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February 19, 2020

‘Ashes setback was wake-up call’

Sports

February 19, 2020

SYDNEY: Being outplayed in last year’s Ashes could prove a blessing in disguise for England’s chances of success in Australia according to captain Heather Knight.

England were put to the sword by Meg Lanning’s side on home turf in July, with their sole T20I win coming once the multi-format series was lost. A period of soul-searching followed as new players entered the fray while Lisa Keightley took the reins, with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 marking her first major tournament as head coach.

Now the time has come for Knight and her side to prove that the Ashes setback was just a blip in their bid for the top. “We learnt a hell of a lot from what was a tough summer,” said Knight, speaking at the captains’ media day at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

“We didn’t play anywhere near our best and Australia completely outplayed us. It gave us a chance to sit down as a team, work out where we are as a side and how we want to take things forward.

“That Ashes gave us a chance to reassess what we want to do, we’ve had a good six months, had a few retirements and introduced some new young players, and those players have brought a real freshness and enthusiasm heading into this competition.

“We’re really clear with how we want to play our cricket and that’s a result of the Ashes. Hopefully it will be a good thing for us that that happened.

“We’ve got some great intel, Lisa played in Australia for many years, coached here for a long time so she’s going to be fundamental for knowing the conditions and the players.” England won the inaugural ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2009 with their bid for a second title starting in Perth against South Africa on Sunday, while 2016 champions West Indies also occupy Group B. Australia have been avoided in the group stage but if Knight’s team have any ambition of lifting the trophy at the MCG on March 8, they may have to prepare to match-up with and beat their old foe.

Prevail in Melbourne and they would complete the limited-overs World Cup double having won the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017 on home soil. “We had a great experience in 2017, which was unique in terms of expectation,” she said. “There’s a lot of momentum in this competition, similar to then.”