By Jack Skelton
NOT long ago, Heather Knight was a rare figure in the women’s game whose style seemed best suited to Test cricket, despite a dearth of opportunities in the longest format.
Yet after award-winning performances in her last two Twenty20 outings and a burgeoning reputation for taking crucial wickets with her off-spin, the 24-year-old admits she is determined to remain a force on all fronts.
Knight’s transformation into a genuine all-round threat could not have occurred at a better time for England as they prepare to host Australia in a seven-match multi-format Ashes series this summer.
The vice-captain will also bring some insider knowledge of the Aussie dressing room after starring for the Tasmanian Roar this winter, picking up the Twenty20 player of the year gong.
But despite following that by being named t20 player of the series as England defeated New Zealand 2-1 earlier this year, Knight insists Test cricket remains her first love and calls on those running the women’s game to protect it.
“I’m not sure whether Test cricket will become the pinnacle of the women’s game – I think some of the girls prefer limited overs because we don’t play a lot of Test cricket,” she said.
“But when we do play Test cricket, speaking from my point of view, I absolutely love it and it’s a really intense battle.
“To be honest, I don’t see Test cricket being played that much more in the next few years because we’ve had a lot of success through 50-over and t20 cricket.
“That’s the most publicised version of the game and the one we’re probably a lot better at playing because we play it a lot more and don’t play any multi-innings cricket in domestic games.
“I really like the multi-format that has been introduced in the Ashes and I think that could really work in other series as well.”
That crossover of skills certainly seems to have benefited Knight of late but the Berkshire player also points to the experience of testing herself abroad, something she is keen for other young players to do.
And with a Test century already under her belt, she is determined to finally record an elusive maiden ODI hundred in this year’s Ashes on home soil.
“Going out to Australia for the winter was something I always wanted to do and I absolutely loved it,” she added.
“Being put in an environment like that, you sometimes have to work things out for yourself, which I think is really important for any cricketer.
“I’d love to see some of the younger girls in our squad go out there as they will massively benefit from it and that’s only good for England cricket.
“The ODI hundred is a monkey that I need to get off my back, it was a shame not to go on and do it in New Zealand when I scored 79.
“But there are plenty of opportunities this summer to put that right so I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m already excited for the Ashes – having every ball on the BBC and Sky is pretty awesome. It gives us that platform and adds that kudos to the games.”
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