INTERVIEW: Heather Knight Reflects Upon Her First Series As Captain

“I’ve really enjoyed the captaincy,” says Heather Knight, reflecting at the end of her first series at the helm. “The girls have been outstanding and made it very easy for me, and when they’re playing like that it’s a very easy job.”

None have performed better in this series than Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield – a partnership which looks set to run and run:

“Those two have deservedly cemented their spot at the top of the order for a good few tours… Their partnerships have got even better as they’ve gone along and for me that’s been a real plus-point of this tour – how ruthless they’ve been. They never got bored of scoring runs.”

But lower down the order flexibility is the key, with England trying to ensure that the right people face the right overs:

“Nat Sciver is the one person in our squad that can score fifty off 20 balls, so she is the one that we want to send in when we’ve got that platform and that opportunity.”

Hence in the 2nd and 3rd ODIs, and the 1st T20, when England already had big totals in the bank, Sciver was promoted up the order, ahead of Knight; whereas in the 1st ODI, and the 2nd and 3rd T20s, with fewer runs on the board, it was Knight who came in before Sciver.

It is a similarly innovative approach to the tactic of opening the bowling with Nat Sciver, so that Dani Hazell can bowl the last overs of the PowerPlay, as Knight explained after the 2nd T20:

“In T20 you’re sometimes trying to get one step ahead of your opponents, and do something slightly different. We feel Dani Hazell is probably our best PowerPlay bowler [but] the worst overs as a bowler – the ones most likely to go for runs – are the ones at the back end of the PowerPlay [so] we decided to open with Nat.”

Knight is obviously delighted with the series result, but though she is confident, she is not complacent about the future:

“The cricket we’ve played has been really entertaining to watch and everyone’s feeding off the success of each other. But I know we’ll have bigger challenges to come – we’ve got a big winter ahead – and the base from this is going to let us kick on.”

Asked what the hardest part of being captain has been, Knight enjoys a joke at our expense, answering:

“Being dragged to do the media and not being able to enjoy the celebrations straight away!!”

But then she continues, with more of a note of contemplation in her voice:

“There are a little bit more demands of your time, which has taken a bit of getting used to. For me it is about not thinking about cricket constantly – I found myself thinking about cricket probably a bit too much in the last few weeks, so that’s something I can probably learn a little bit better – to have that time to switch off. That will help me have more clarity when I am thinking about cricket.”

Overall though, clearly this has been a series which Knight and her team deserve to remember for all the right reasons. Referencing the media controversy over Charlotte Edwards’s retirement, Knight concludes:

“Going into the summer there was a lot of ‘noise’ going on, but I couldn’t be more proud of how the girls responded – the character they’ve shown. It’s been a really nice place to be.”

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