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India series marks 'fresh start' for England - Alice Capsey

Home side "excited for new challenge" after Commonwealth Games heartbreak

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Alice Capsey gave the England innings momentum after they lost their openers, England vs South Africa, Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, August 2, 2022

Alice Capsey impressed for England during the Commonwealth Games  •  Getty Images

England Women will approach their upcoming series against India as a "fresh start" following the disappointment of their failed home Commonwealth Games campaign last month.
Alice Capsey, the talented allrounder who turned 18 less than a week after India knocked the hosts out of gold-medal contention in Birmingham, is among a clutch of youngsters England are backing to help their side overcome the deflation of first being relegated to the play-off for bronze then losing that contest to New Zealand.
"We're really motivated," Capsey said. "It's a really exciting series that will present lots of challenges along the way. As a group, we're quite excited to get into it and have to adapt and overcome those challenges.
"Obviously we lost to them in the Commonwealth Games, however that was a couple of weeks ago now and we've all come off the Hundred. So it's a fresh start. It's a new series, so it's all to play for really.
"It was really disappointing how we ended the Commonwealth Games, but we've all gone through the Hundred, we've all left the environment and we've all joined back up and I think we're all really excited for a new challenge. That has been and gone now and we can't really hold on to that loss and disappointment. So at the moment it's just about looking forward."
Lauren Bell is set to make her T20I debut in the first leg of India's tour, which begins in Durham on Saturday, after being named in a 14-strong squad missing veteran seamer Katherine Brunt, who is being rested.
Bell made her Test and ODI debuts against South Africa earlier in the summer but was overlooked for the squad which contested the T20I leg of that tour and the Commonwealth Games. She was the outstanding seamer in this year's Hundred, claiming 11 wickets at 16.00 - second only to her Southern Brave team-mate, the legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington - including a best of 4 for 10 against Trent Rockets.
Bell joins fellow young seamers Freya Kemp and Issy Wong - both of whom made their T20I debuts earlier this summer and played at the Commonwealth Games - in the squad to face India alongside Capsey, who has played seven T20Is since making her debut against South Africa in July, having been the standout performer of the Hundred in 2021.
In this year's edition of the Hundred, Capsey claimed eight wickets at 12.37 with her off-breaks, including 3 for 15 against Birmingham Phoenix and 2 for 17 as Oval Invincibles defeated Southern Brave in the final for the second year running to retain the title. She also scored 118 runs at 29.50, including 25 off 17 balls in the final.
"Last year no one really knew who I was, so coming into this year there was a little bit more, I noticed planning around how to get me out and how to face me," Capsey said.
"It's also part of the challenge of coming into professional cricket and playing in those sort of tournaments, so it was more just a challenge for me to adapt my game a little bit, but it didn't really change how I went about my cricket."
Capsey was impressive at the Commonwealth Games, beginning her campaign with scores of 44 and 50 against Sri Lanka and South Africa respectively and highlighted finding ways to hold onto her form, particularly with the bat, as the key learning she had gleaned from her debut international season.
"Just that form is such a precious thing and to look after it as a batter especially," Capsey said. "I was probably struggling at the beginning of the season with [South East] Stars and not putting in the performances that I would have liked.
"A turning point was getting picked for that South Africa series. Since then, I've just been trying to look after my form as much as possible because it's the most important thing really as a batter.
"Continuing doing the little things that have got me into this position and just being really mindful of what I what I need to get out of sessions and just getting myself in the best place possible to be able to perform in in any game that I'm picked for."
It was under outgoing head coach Lisa Keightley that Capsey made her international start, picked as a then 17-year-old to play against South Africa in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games. For Australian Keightley, India's tour - which concludes with the third of three ODIs at Lord's on September 24 - will be her last after she decided not to seek a contract extension.
As England seek a new head coach to take them to next year's T20 World Cup in South Africa, Keightley's legacy of blooding new players towards the end of her tenure will leave a lasting impression on the team and individuals alike.
"It's the start of our careers and we're all just really excited to be a part of the group and be around it," Capsey said. "If we play games for England, that's been a dream of all of us for a while now. To be in this environment. We're all just really excited and ready to get going."

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo