Matches (20)
T20 World Cup (6)
CE Cup (4)
T20 Blast (10)

Katherine Brunt seeking revenge when England face Australia for the women's Ashes

Why England quick is "desperate" for another Ashes triumph before she retires

Valkerie Baynes
Valkerie Baynes
Katherine Brunt bowling, England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Worcester, June 9, 2019

Katherine Brunt bowling for England  •  Getty Images

Katherine Brunt is desperate to finish her career with another Ashes series victory.
That's not to say the England quick - who turns 34 on Tuesday, the opening day of the series - will retire immediately if her side manage to win the Ashes back from Australia over the course of the next month.
"They keep finding ways to pull me back and patch me up," Brunt said, her groan wrapped up in a laugh.
"I'd love to be part of another Ashes-winning England side again and that would be a lovely little thing to finish on, I guess. But with the World T20 [in 2020], that's definitely not something I'm going to say no to."
Brunt was part of the side which won the inaugural Women's T20 World Cup in England in 2009, taking 3 for 6 in the final against New Zealand.
She is a veteran of seven Ashes series, starting with England's first series win for 42 years in 2005, and missing only the 2007-08 edition while she recovered from surgery to deal with a back condition which she still has to manage carefully. Having been part of the England side which lost the Ashes in 2015 and saw Australia retain them through the drawn 2017-18 series, Brunt would love nothing more than to win them back.
"With an Ashes series you have all the extra emotion like, I don't know, revenge"
Katherine Brunt
"I'm desperate for an Ashes win," Brunt told ESPNcricinfo. "It's the most important thing there is to me. I love the World Cup, world tournaments, any series between us and Australia, but the Ashes for me is just the pinnacle.
"For some reason it's got the most amount of emotion in it. You go through so much. Normal games you go through nerves and anxiety and excitement, things like that, but with an Ashes series you have all that and then you have all the extra emotion like, I don't know, revenge. Certainly pride, and there's just so much more passion for it.
"The banter just kind of gets away with itself and gets a bit heated at times, so there's just so much more fun and enjoyment and emotion involved in an Ashes series."
Immediately after sweeping their rain-affected ODI and T20I series against West Indies 3-0 and 1-0, the England squad underwent a course of fitness testing with many found to be in the best shape of their careers, possibly helped by extra time spent in the gym because of the bad weather.
"We've managed to really keep our conditioning good knowing that the Ashes were literally around the corner," Brunt said. "I've managed to stay niggle free. I'll always have my issues with my back, that's just part and parcel of fast bowling.
"People do like to keep things to themselves but it's no mystery I've always struggled with my back and it's always something I've just had to manage properly. You've seen me miss the third one-dayer against West Indies. That wasn't due to injury, that was due to just being smart and management of my back. That journey, four hours down south, is just not worth it when you can expose a youngster."
Brunt took 2 for 6 and 0 for 14 in the two ODIs she played against West Indies and 2 for 22 in the sole T20I. She has 146 wickets from 118 career ODIs at an average of 22.88.
Everyone in England, let alone its cricketers, has welcomed an apparent turnaround in the weather over the past week but the unseasonably wet start to the summer could have implications for the pitches used against Australia.
"England wickets can be a little bit tricky sometimes," Brunt said. "Back in the day, we used to have seaming wickets and it would be a bit traumatic for the batsmen and these days we're producing very good batting surfaces, even though the men's World Cup is showing that all the seamers are being greedy and taking all the wickets. But that's considering they are bowling 80, 90 mile an hour, more than that.
"I can see the women's Ashes outside of things being more rounded, with the spinners [involved]. The men are making the wickets tired now so spin might indeed come into it at some point.
"But with the Aussies themselves, you can't beat a bit of swing, from both sides. If you can get past that early stage where the ball's moving about, then you can really cash in."
The Ashes will be decided over three one-day matches, starting on Tuesday in Leicester, followed by a four-day Test match in Taunton from July 18 and three T20s, starting on July 26 in Chelmsford and finishing in Bristol five days later.