SELF-BELIEF isn’t just an advantage for Freya Davies – for a prospective England debutant, it’s a downright necessity.
On Thursday, the Sussex seamer flies out to India to join up with her contemporaries as a fully-fledged member of the England set-up, Davies primed and ready to make her international bow in three t20 fixtures against the Women in Blue.
Despite having earned her stripes whilst on a rookie contract and having previously toured with the ECB’s Academy squad, the 23-year-old will very much be the new kid on the block, having become the only addition to England’s list of centrally contracted players confirmed at the start of February.
If Davies is handed her debut in one of three games in Guwahati, then it’ll be time to put up or shut up.
“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet – I don’t think it will until I’m actually on the plane,” she said.
“Obviously, it’s super-exciting. It’ll all feel a bit more real once I’m out there, I think.
“You’ve got to back yourself on the pitch because if you don’t, no-one else will.
“It’s a challenge, it’s a new environment, and feeling like you actually belong is always going to be tough, but I’m sure it’ll be great.
“I’ve heard bits about India – it sounds like a pretty insane place to play cricket because everybody loves it out there.
“The girls have all tried to fill me in as best they can but it won’t feel real until I’m out there.
“There’s hard work to get to this stage but the dream is now to get that debut and not let go of that place in the team, and fight for a place in the Ashes squad this summer and all of that.
“But, for me, it’s one step at a time and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Being a fresh addition to the England team, who were also due begin a three-game ODI series against India today, has put Davies firmly in the spotlight.
All the extra media attention has taken some getting used to but she’s attempting to take things in her stride as best she can.
“It’s all just been a bit surreal, to be fair. I don’t think I’m used to it,” added the Chichester native.
“It’s all a shock to the system but it’s obviously a really nice time, and something we work towards, so it’s exciting to get that recognition.
“I’ve been on a rookie contract for about a year now, so obviously, the progression there is to a full contract, and then making your debut; it’s something that’s there in the back of your mind and it’s what you’re working towards.
“For it to become a reality is always a bit strange, if exciting.”
Davies is also no stranger to rubbing shoulders with World Cup winners – but she’s determined to make an extra effort to pick as many brains as possible.
She added: “As rookies, we were training full-time with the girls. We were involved with the academy set-up.
“Mark Robinson [coach] is really good in getting us involved, so there’ll be plenty of shocks if I do debut but the environment of being with the girls won’t be one of them.
“I’ve done a couple of academy tours a few years ago, so it’s not completely alien to me but it’s really about speaking a lot to – Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole in particular – and learning everything I can from the experienced pros.
“I want to use all their insight and do what I can from there, really.”
DAN BARNES / Photo: Getty Images