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Sarah Glenn surprises herself with rapid rise

Young England legspinner named PCA Women's Player of the Year

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Sarah Glenn has emerged as a formidable part of England's spin attack, England v West Indies, 2nd Vitality T20I, Derby, September 23, 2020

Sarah Glenn has emerged as a formidable part of England's spin attack  •  Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Sarah Glenn's rise on the international stage has been so rapid that she has surprised even herself.
Glenn, the 21-year-old England legspinner, is the NatWest PCA Women's Player of the Year, just days after being named Player of the Series in the T20Is against West Indies and having made her international debut barely 10 months ago.
"It's still a bit of a shock," Glenn said. "I don't think it happens that often that you make your debut and things change so quickly.
"I knew I wanted to be in the England side one day but I didn't know if I was going to or how long it was going to take. So for everything to have moved so quickly and to get this, I'm just going to really enjoy the moment.
"With cricket, and sport in general, you have a lot more bad days than good days, so I am just going to try and enjoy the moment with my family and friends."
Glenn has kept her "shock" well hidden, with seasoned commentators such as former England captain Charlotte Edwards remarking on her apparent ability not to be over-awed by the big stage.
"With Sarah Glenn, you've got an unbelievable talent, she has just taken to international cricket like a duck to water really," Edwards told ESPNcricinfo.
Glenn made her international debut against Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur last December and impressed during the tri-series with Australia and India immediately before the T20 World Cup, counting Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Beth Mooney and Meg Lanning among her scalps.
During the T20 World Cup she claimed 3 for 15 against Pakistan, bowling the experienced Javeria Khan and Iram Javed before she had Umaima Sohail caught by Sophie Ecclestone, with whom she is forming a formidable England spin combination.
Going into the five matches against West Indies last month, Glenn had only played 10 T20s at international level, and she has still only featured in three ODIs, but her seven wickets at an average of 12.00 and economy rate of 5.60 against West Indies were the best figures of the series. Her 46 runs, including a valuable 26 from 19 balls which rescued England from 96 for 6 and helped them to victory in a Player-of-the-Match performance in the second fixture, backed up her stated ambition to become a genuine allrounder.
In both batting and bowling departments, Glenn is learning that simplicity is her best policy.
"If I go too technical or overthink things, that's when I go downhill," Glenn said. "I have been working on my batting quite hard over the years and again if I overthink things, it can damage it.
"I was struggling with the bat over the last couple of years, psychologically going out to bat, my mindset wasn't that great. The pandemic hit and I was gutted because I thought I was in a good rhythm with my bowling but I think the time off really helped me when I came back to bat.
"I had a real clear head. I kept it simple with hitting the ball as hard as I could, seeing the ball quite clearly. That's opened me up to thinking that when I go out to bat, I just need to keep it simple."
So from idolising the great legspinner Shane Warne and looking up to the character of Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt because she "quite liked how they went about their cricket", Glenn is now wrapping her head round being a role model for other young girls in the sport.
And she was determined to put on a good show for them when women's cricket returned live to the BBC for the first time since 1993 for the third match against West Indies. She took 2 for 18 that day, trapping the potentially dangerous batsmen Hayley Matthews and Chedean Nation lbw as England won by 20 runs.
"To know that they have female role models to look up to is a lot more motivating," Glenn said. "Young girls think I could be that person one day. They look up to that. It's quite special to know that that could possibly be happening.
"It's starting to sink in that young girls are starting to look up to me. I still feel like a young girl myself, looking up to people. It's not processed yet that I am becoming that role model. That's really special to me. It's something I have always wanted to be, to inspire young girls.
"When it was live on BBC, I thought right, let's put a great performance on and show what we can do."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo