July 02, 1985, Barnsley
Right hand Bat
Right arm Medium fast
Cricket is in Katherine Brunt's blood - she first played the game through joining in the nets with her brother at the family's club, Barnsley, where her dad played for the 2nd XI. A skiddy fast bowler, she represented Yorkshire at Under-15 and Under-17 level, but took a break from county cricket at the age of 17 because she was overweight and not really enjoying the game.
But two years later - spurred on by her sister's dramatic weightloss - Brunt was back, leaner and meaner than ever. She moved up from Yorkshire to Super 4s to England as fast as her weight had dropped off - at lightning pace - and both transformations were down to sheer grit and application. So dramatic was her weightloss after a vigorous dieting and exercise regime that some of her new England colleagues didn't recognise her when, aged 19, she turned up for the drawn Test against New Zealand in 2004.
A trip to South Africa for the 2005 World Cup followed, although it ended in disappointment for second-ranked England who were knocked out at the semi-final stage by the eventual winners Australia. But Brunt exacted revenge four months later, taking 14 wickets in the two Tests and scoring her first Test fifty besides as England romped to their first Ashes series win in 42 years.
A few months later she toured the subcontinent when England visited Sri Lanka and India at the end of 2005, with mixed success. Brunt's own tour ended early when she broke a finger and had to fly home.
In fact her career has been blighted by injuries throughout, in particular a troublesome back, which saw her miss the 2007-08 Ashes to recover from surgery. She reignited the injury out in Australia during the 2013-14 Ashes and seriously considered walking away from cricket altogether, but the ushering in of the professional era in May that year allowed her the time and support to fight her way back to full fitness and recover much of her old pace.
The recovery time has always proved worth it. A fully fit Brunt has been one of the most powerful weapons in England's armoury, since 2009 becoming England's leading strike bowler with a pace that - at her quickest - has rivalled the fastest in the women's game. Picked in the 2009 50-over World Cup squad, she took six wickets from five games, and was retained for the World T20 later that year, taking a phenomenal 3 for 6 in the final against New Zealand at Lord's as England triumphed.
She has particularly shone against Australia, with her 6 for 69 in the first innings of the 2009 Worcester Test helping ensure that England retained the Ashes. In the new format women's Ashes in 2013 she took nine wickets at an economy of 3.02 across all three formats. The improvement in her batting was also apparent in the 2015 Ashes series, when she top-scored with 39 for England in the first innings of the Canterbury Test. It may well be that she is in future years considered a genuine allrounder; yet whether batting or bowling, the same qualities of passion and aggression always shine through.
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