Matches (15)
ENG v PAK (W) (1)
T20WC Warm-up (6)
ENG v PAK (1)
Vitality Blast (5)
CE Cup (2)

Rotation could come into play for England's ODIs - Heather Knight

Busy summer may force hosts to rest players as England and NZ form World Cup plans

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Heather Knight played a vital hand in the chase, England vs New Zealand, 3rd women's T20I, Taunton, September 9, 2021

Heather Knight played a vital hand in the chase  •  Getty Images

Heather Knight believes England may need to rotate players through their five-match ODI series with New Zealand as they look ahead to next year's World Cup.
The hosts will name their squad on Saturday for the five ODIs taking place inside 11 days and starting in Bristol on Thursday. The series caps a busy international summer for the hosts, who played a multi-format series with India before peeling off to play for their Hundred franchises and then reconvening to face New Zealand.
Neither side has tried to hide the fact they were already focused on the global 50-over tournament in New Zealand in March during their T20I series which went down to the wire, England winning 2-1 with victory in the decider at Taunton with one ball to spare.
England's win on Thursday was helped by Knight, their captain, who returned from a hamstring injury that had kept her out of the first two T20s to score a crucial 42 off 36 balls chasing down a target of 145.
Rotating players would allow some weary bodies and minds to rest while giving opportunities for others to force their way into the reckoning ahead of the multi-format Ashes series in Australia and the World Cup.
"We're trying to build a squad of players that are going to be really successful for us and, with the games being so close, there's potential that we're going to have to rotate players and give people opportunities at certain points with us having [had] a lot of cricket this summer," Knight said.
"Physically and mentally we need to look after the fast bowlers in particular, so it's finding that balance of wanting to be successful and win the series against a good New Zealand side but also trying to manage players and trying to look to the future a little bit and give opportunities where we can."
Having won the first T20I easily, England lost the second after New Zealand captain Sophie Devine scored a half-century and took two wickets to level the series and then had to fight hard to win the decider, with Sophia Dunkley continuing her breakout summer by keeping her cool under pressure to score the winning runs.
"The fact that the last two games we haven't had easy," Knight said after the final match when asked to highlight the most pleasing aspects of the T20 series. "That first game was a real stellar performance from us, it was almost the perfect performance.
"The last two have tested us a little bit. We were probably off at Hove, we were a little bit not ourselves and not at the standard we want to be at as a side, but the way the girls turned it around was really pleasing.
"It was probably not our best today but the way that we won a pressure game, we're able to punch out wins and different people are standing up."
"We haven't unleashed Lea Tahuhu yet"
Sophie Devine
Despite the series defeat, Devine was pleased with her side's direction of travel heading into the ODIs and beyond.
"We've had a lot of 50-over focus leading into this so it's actually quite nice to get the T20s out of the way now because for the last couple of months all we've been focused on is 50-over cricket with a World Cup around the corner," Devine said.
"We'll take some learnings out that we can take to the 50-over format which will be really exciting for us and give us confidence, but we're certainly looking forward to being able to build on what we've been able to accomplish in this T20 series."
Devine was keen to bring back seamer Lea Tahuhu, who did not play the T20s while managing her workload after undergoing surgery to remove a pre-cancerous mole from her foot.
"We haven't unleashed Lea Tahuhu yet, which I'm excited about," Devine said. "She's going to bring a whole different dimension with our bowling attack, having someone with that pace and bounce is going to be really exciting but also the confidence this group can take from what we've been able to achieve.
"I know we didn't win this series but there's so many positives we can take out of that. That's been a key thing for us over this last couple of months, we've got to keep growing and we've got to keep building. We may not always get the results but as long as we're trending in the right direction we're certainly very impressed by what's just happened."
Devine was also keen to test her side against England in the 50-over format.
"The opportunity to be over here playing against the current world champions, you don't get much better opportunity than that so we're certainly going to take a lot out of this," she said. "We've worked extremely hard over the last couple of months and it's exciting to see where this group is heading."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo