Brunt relishes successful comeback
Katherine Brunt, the England fast bowler, capped off a remarkable comeback from a career-threatening back injury to win the Player-of-the-Series award after the 4-0 victory against India.
"It just hit me at that moment," Brunt told ecb.co.uk. "All the hard times I've had with injuries and being left out of tours. To come back when I didn't think I would. All the months of hard work had paid off."
Brent was sidelined for 15 months after sustaining a prolapsed disc, which nearly jeopardised her career as a fast bowler. However, she took six wickets at 11.33 against India, which followed a five-for against South Africa at Lord's earlier in the summer. Her 5 for 24 are the best figures by an England bowler at the venue.
"I've got my confidence back now," she said. "In the last three games I have started to bend my back and put the effort in. Coming back from injury, I found the summer pretty gruelling. I think I have picked up every niggle in my lower body but my back has been fine. It's annoying as it prevents me from firing on all cylinders. I'm getting fitter and stronger though."
Brunt's comeback coincided with an amazing run for her team, who have remained unbeaten through the summer - 16 matches, 13 wins and three no-results. "Beating the West Indies was a brilliant start," she said. "The way we played set us up for the rest of the summer.
"The highlight of the South Africa series was winning at Lord's. We all had a lot of people come to the match and I think everyone who came was impressed with how we played. It was the perfect game.
"If you are going to have the perfect game then where better to do it than Lord's?"
India were expected to provide a stiffer challenge, and even Brent was surprised by their poor performance. "I did not expect us to beat India 4-0. They are second in the world but did not get close to us. We have improved more than any other team in the last two years."
It wasn't a great series for India, though, and Jhulan Goswami, their strike bowler, blamed the team's batsmen. "The bowlers need some runs on the board to defend. If they don't put up some runs how can we expect to win matches? Our top order was a failure," Goswami, India's vice-captain, told PTI. "Perhaps we could not acclimatise ourselves in the cold and wet conditions in England. We also missed the injured Rumeli Dhar. Her experience would have played a crucial role.
"But we must not complain about such factors especially at the international level. You have ups and downs and it is the same for all sportspersons," she said. "We went to England with our fourth successive triumph in Asia Cup. But there we were totally caught on the wrong foot."
Goswami, though, was optimistic of an improved showing in the upcoming series against Australia. "Hopefully, we'll learn from this one-sided loss by taking the positives into account and regroup ahead of the Australia series next month," she said. "The series is very crucial as a good result will give us confidence ahead of the World Cup [in Australia next year]."