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Tash Farrant has fire in her belly after missing India series

England seamer determined to make most of her chances against New Zealand

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Missing out on England's series against India lit a fire in Tash Farrant that has been burning for all to see ever since.
Farrant was part of England's Test, ODI and T20 squads for the multi-format series with India in June and July without playing a game. She went on to become the leading wicket-taker in the Hundred, playing a crucial role in Oval Invincibles' run to the title with her left-arm seam and excellence in the field.
In Wednesday night's first T20I against New Zealand, which England won convincingly, she claimed the vital wicket of opener and captain Sophie Devine with the fourth ball she bowled and broke a partnership approaching fifty between Amy Satterthwaite and Maddy Green when she caught the latter in spectacular fashion at deep backward square.
"I'm just really enjoying all the opportunities I've been getting," Farrant said. "Starting the summer with the South East Stars and then missing out in that series against India, I just wanted to have a really good Hundred and was happy that I was able to do that and then, hopefully, take that confidence into this series.
"Playing on Wednesday night, it's always special to play for England, so I just really loved it... I've got a bit of fire in my belly at the moment, having missed the India series, so hopefully if I get a few more opportunities, I just want to make the most of them."
Farrant is no stranger to the notion that windows of opportunity can open and close in an instant. Despite having been a centrally contracted player, Farrant was left out of the England squad which won the World Cup in 2017. She then lost her central contract in 2019, an experience that strengthened her resolve to make the most of her next chance.
It came on England's tour of New Zealand in February and March, where she played two ODIs - her first in more than seven years, having made her debut in West Indies in 2013 - and made her first T20I appearance in nearly three years. So there is a sense of familiarity about this tour by New Zealand, involving three T20Is and five ODIs.
"Having already played against them gave me a bit of confidence," Farrant said. "I was happy with how I did out there but I still felt like I had a bit more to give. So hopefully I can build on that this series.
"Whenever I get an opportunity I'm just going to make sure that I try and contribute to the game and make sure that I can help England win games.
"That's probably the biggest thing I took from being away from the environment - I've learned that you can't control a lot of things in professional sport but when you get that opportunity just to try and take it and see what you can do to help the team win."
Back in the England set-up, Farrant is also making the most of learning from players around her, not least veteran seamer Katherine Brunt with whom she opened the bowling at Chelmsford on Wednesday night.
"It was pretty special opening the bowling with Katherine, I had her at mid off as well so it's quite nice," Farrant said. "Actually I asked her what I should bowl the ball before I got the wicket of Sophie Devine, so that was really special.
"I've not actually played that many games with her so I really loved playing with her and obviously having her building the pressure at the other end makes it a bit more simple for me so hopefully we'll get a few more games together."
Devine set for 100th T20I
Devine, for whom the series opener marked a return to action after taking a break in March to manage fatigue and her mental health, is set to play her 100th T20I at Hove on Saturday, although she said the prospect didn't enter her thinking while she was taking time out.
"I guess I was probably too busy worrying about getting my life back in order to be fair," Devine said. "It didn't really cross my mind around a milestone match or if I'd play again. I always knew I would be back, it was just a matter of when it would happen so it's certainly nice to be here, and hopefully bring up that milestone match. It will be an occasion I certainly want to enjoy with my team-mates and hopefully can get the result to match."
Devine admitted immediately after Wednesday's defeat that her side had been "rusty" after not playing since April and on Friday she dryly noted that their fielding needed to improve, including her own after she dropped key chances off Tammy Beaumont, whose 97 set up England's victory, and Sophia Dunkley.
"We waited until we were outside and gave it a day before reviewing the match, but there are certainly some really positive things to take out of it," Devine said. "We're really happy with the way that the batters went out with intent. In the past we've sometimes gone into our shell a little bit when we've lost wickets so for us to keep going and keep attacking the English side I thought was a real positive.
"With the ball as well we were really clear around where we missed and I think the Powerplay obviously is the area that we need to tighten up and as well I guess a little bit in the field, particularly me, it might be nice to bring my hands for the next game."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo