Having recovered from a hamstring niggle, Heather Knight will return to captain England in the opening ODI of this year’s Women’s Ashes against Australia.
England announced their 14-member squad for the first game of the multi-format Ashes, set to be held in Leicestershire’s Grace Road ground. The ODI leg will be followed by a solitary Test match and three T20Is, all in July.
Along with Knight, pacer Katherine Brunt returns to the squad and will likely reprise her new-ball role. Brunt and all-rounder Natalie Sciver were rested for the final ODI of England’s recent series against West Indies but returned to play a part in the T20I leg.
Knight did not take the field in England’s second T20I against West Indies, and was supposed to sit out the third game of the series that was eventually abandoned due to rain.
“We’re massively excited now and we just want to get started,” Knight said, ahead of the ODI leg. “You play cricket for series like this, they’re special, so we’re all just raring to go.”
Having whitewashed West Indies 3-0 in ODIs earlier this month, and following it up with a 1-0 win in the rain-affected T20Is, England go into the Ashes with confidence high. They have won their last 14 games on the trot, their last defeat coming during their tour of India in February.
“It wasn’t an easy squad to pick. We’ve won 14 games in a row and during that time different people have performed and stuck their hand up. That bodes well for the Ashes and hopefully we can maintain that form throughout this series.
“We’re really happy with this group. There’s a good feeling amongst us and we want to go out there and regain the Ashes. That’s our primary focus for the next month.”
Squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Jenny Gunn, Amy Jones,, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt, Laura Marsh, Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor (wk), Fran Wilson.