September 06, 1993, Blackburn, Lancashire
Right hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
A left-arm orthodox spinner with a ballerina-like action, Alex Hartley was born and bred in Lancashire, making her debut for her native county as a 14-year-old in 2008. Her breakthrough season came two years later, in 2010, when she took 25 wickets for Lancashire at an average of 22, including 6 for 23 against Scotland.
Leaner times were, however, to follow. Having been brought into the England Academy at 15, she was subsequently dropped after being told that her batting and fielding needed to improve; and in 2012 she took just four wickets for Lancashire in Division 2 of the County Championship.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, so in 2013 she upped-sticks and moved to Middlesex in Division 1, in search of a new start as she continued to pursue the dream of one day playing for England.
It was not the easy road - commuting from her home in Clitheroe down to London for matches and training - but gradually the form she had shown earlier in her career gradually began to return; and in 2014 she was brought back into the England Academy setup.
Selected for a pre-season Academy tour to the UAE in 2015, she impressed with two four-wicket hauls against Australia's Shooting Stars; but the conservative selection climate which prevailed at that time meant the England dream continued to look like a distant prospect.
However, the appointment of Mark Robinson as England coach, and the shake-out of the hierarchy which subsequently followed, provided a new opportunity as she was selected in the squad to face Pakistan in 2016, making her international debut in the 3rd ODI at Taunton.
She was an ODI regular throughout Robinson's spell as head coach, starring in a series in the Caribbean in late 2016 where she took 13 wickets in five games, and made an impressive case for World Cup selection. She was picked in the squad in 2017, playing eight games out of nine and finishing the tournament as England's second-highest wicket-taker.
While she proved uncharacteristically expensive in the final, she also struck two crucial blows during England's fightback, dismissing Harmanpreet Kaur for 51 and Sushma Verma for a duck, instigating India's dramatic collapse.
Over the next couple of years, Hartley was overtaken by Sophie Ecclestone, her fellow left-arm spinner, and lost her central contract at the end of the 2019 season. She has continued to perform consistently in domestic cricket for the Thunder, signing a full-time contract in late 2020, and has also become a respected broadcaster.
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