Katherine Brunt says this summer’s Ashes, in which England lost heavily to visitors Australia, was the worst experience of her life.
The 34-year-old fast bowler from Dodworth admits she questioned why she was playing during the one-sided series but is now regaining confidence and motivation, a week after the Ashes finished. England lost all three One Day Internationals then drew the Test Match before being beaten in the first two Twenty20 games. They won the last Twenty20, with Brunt named Player of the Match for her three wickets which meant she claimed the second most in the series out of England’s players.
Brunt told the Chronicle: “I’ve never felt so down in my whole life as I did during the last few weeks. It’s been my biggest challenge in 15 years as an England player. It just felt like we were constantly being smashed in the face and I am not used to that at all. I was thinking ‘I don’t want to be here’ and questioning why I was playing. It is hard to put yourself at the forefront again and again when you are being criticised.
"I was in a horrible place. I didn’t feel I was good enough to be playing in that series. But, having had a week to reflect and to speak to captain, coach, friends and family, I can actually see now that I had a good series. I am really happy with what I was able to contribute. It takes more than one player to win a game or a series. The last game of the Ashes felt like the start of a new journey when we’ll learn from what went wrong and put it right.”
Brunt had spoken about retiring from cricket if England won the Ashes, but is hoping to play for them again in December against Pakistan in Malaysia as well as in the Twenty20 World Cup which takes place in Australia in February and March 2020. He said: “If I retired now, after this Ashes, I would regret it forever. I can’t do that. I still feel like I have a lot to offer, my body is holding up for now, and this England coaching set-up is quite good at manipulating me to keep playing.”
Brunt is the third highest wicket-taker of all-time in 50-over women’s internationals, with 148, but that was no comfort in the 12-4 loss on the Ashes points-based system. He said: “If I knew what went wrong, it would be a lot easier to fill out the series review forms we all get. I don’t think it was anything to do with technique or skill, it was about the mentality.
"Australia have much more participation in cricket and six times as many paid professional women, but our best is as good as their best. They just played with a lot more confidence and freedom and I’m not sure why that was. We might have got a few decisions wrong with tactics and batting or bowling first, then maybe we tried too hard or thought about it too much.”
Brunt is now due to take a break from playing, which might mean she does not feature for the Yorkshire Diamonds in the KIA Super League. He said: “I have played a lot of cricket this summer, probably too much. My body seems to have come through it fairly well but I need a bit of a break.
"I definitely won’t play in the first two weeks of the KSL and I might miss the whole thing. I need to make sure I am ready for the winter tour and the World Cup. It’s a shame because I love representing Yorkshire but I know my body and, if I went into another intense tournament now, there would be a big risk of an injury.”
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Brunt ‘never felt so down’ as during Ashes but refuses to retire
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