Heather Knight not thinking about next Ashes showdown as focus turns to Hundred

By Sports Desk July 31, 2023

Heather Knight was non-committal about overseeing England’s next crack at Australia in the 2025 Women’s Ashes, admitting she is “consciously” focusing on the here and now.

Australia’s stranglehold in the multi-format series continued as they walked away with the main prize earlier this month but Knight’s side spiritedly turned a 6-0 points deficit into an 8-8 stalemate.

Even though England were unable to overcome Australia for the first time since 2013/14, the drawn series and several tense finishes backed up the suggestion the gap between the rivals is narrowing.

Outside of World Cups, England’s next chance against the benchmark in the women’s game is set to be in early 2025 in Australia although Knight, who will be 34 by then, is not thinking that far ahead.

Knight, who was appointed England captain in June 2016, told the PA news agency: “I haven’t really thought about it. It feels like quite a long way away.

“At the moment, I’m just trying to consciously not look too far ahead, I just focus on what is on the immediate future and try and get myself and the team in the best place for that. Who knows?

“Ashes series are amazing to be involved in, I love playing Ashes cricket, so we’ll see.”

The recently-concluded series was held at major venues in England and attracted around 110,000 people across seven matches, pushing the women’s game into the public’s consciousness like never before.

Knight believes the unprecedented success of this summer’s Ashes, which ran concurrently to the men’s series, owes a debt of gratitude to The Hundred, which will start its third edition on Tuesday.

While there is continued scrutiny on the future of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s 100-ball competition, it is widely-regarded for having helped the women’s game bloom, a point reinforced by Knight, who feels parts of The Hundred’s commercial operations were adopted for the Ashes.

Knight, who will juggle playing and captaincy duties for London Spirit with a commentary role on the BBC, said: “I actually think The Hundred has been a big part of what happened in the Ashes this summer.

“It probably changed perceptions at the ECB that if you market it properly then people will come and watch. I think that led to the Ashes this series being marketed how it was.

“It was probably our most visible series ever. Hopefully, both international cricket and The Hundred can feed off each other and keep getting more girls involved.

“I certainly noticed loads more young girls at our games, knowing everything about the game which is pretty awesome to see.”

The Spirit begin their campaign at Lord’s against London rivals Oval Invincibles in a men’s and women’s
double header on Wednesday, with Knight returning after missing last year’s competition through injury.

While the Ashes only wrapped up a fortnight ago, Knight is ready to go after a few days at home with friends and family.

The 32-year-old said: “I was absolutely knackered the first days afterwards, I didn’t really realise how tired I was till everything stopped and the adrenaline ran out. The schedule was pretty full on.

“But I had a good few days to recharge. I feel like I’ve had a bit of a mental refresh. I usually get bored sitting around for too long, so it’s nice to get back. I’m really excited.”

Knight will be able to call upon fast bowler Lauren Filer, who had an eye-catching international debut as she troubled Australia’s batters with her pace in the one-off Test at Trent Bridge.

Knight added: “She’s got something a bit different, she’s the quickest in the country and gets good bounce. She’s still trying to find how she works but she’s a great weapon to have as a captain.”

:: There will be 16 games in The Hundred shown live on BBC TV and iPlayer – matches are on TV every Wednesday and Saturday. Plus, every ball is available live on BBC Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and Sounds while text commentary is on the BBC Sport website and app.

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