KATHERINE Brunt is delighted to be playing regular cricket again as her Melbourne Stars team reached the Women’s Big Bash last four for the first time in their history this week.
The 35-year-old from Dodworth, who has played for England more than 200 times, is competing in the tournament in Sydney, Australia.
They complete their group matches tomorrow and on Sunday while they have already qualified for next week’s semi-finals, with the final taking place on November 28.
Brunt is pleased to be playing again after this year’s schedule was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “We were locked down for three months then training during the summer but it was boring, without any of the social side, and there was a lot of testing and restrictions.
“You don’t want a career like this to feel like horrible work.
“It is supposed to be the best years of your life. It’s great to be playing again.”
Brunt, who has suffered with serious back injuries throughout her career, has been rested for some of the matches.
“I didn’t play any cricket for three months during lockdown so I have picked up a few new niggles which I have to manage. I want to play every game and so do the coaches but I have to have a game off here and there to make sure I am fit for the finals, at the end of this hectic schedule.”
Brunt – who has previously played for Perth Scorchers – moved to the Stars this season along with her fiancee and England team-mate Natalie Sciver.
“Myself and Natalie like to be on the same team.
“This is a two and a half month stint so it would be rubbish to be apart for so long. For a lot of teams, signing both of us is a good package. Perth asked us to go there but we decided to go to Melbourne, which is an awesome team with a really good coaching set-up. We’re loving it.”
The Big Bash is being played in a ‘bio secure bubble’ in Sydney.
Brunt said: “This area has been pretty much Covid free but they are still super paranoid. We have two hotels merged together which are gated off.
“You can go out for a walk but you can’t stop anywhere, and you have to sign out and in with temperature checks. It is pretty strict and boring.
“You can only really stay in your room.
“The tournament organisers haven’t spared any expense.
“They won’t have gained much revenue so hats off to them for putting a lot of money, time and effort into it.
“We are all extremely grateful to be here doing what we love.”
All the matches are being played in an empty Blacktown Oval.
“I love the crowds and you don’t really want to play without one but it doesn’t affect my game because I am so into the competition that I don’t hear anything else. I am happy as long I am playing cricket. At least I am not getting sledged as an English player in Australia.”
The competition is due to finish at the end of this month then Brunt will return to the UK.
“We will be home for Christmas and we have a month off which we’re looking forward to.
“If I am allowed, I will have a long stint with my family in Barnsley.
“I have only seen my parents once or twice since March.”
England are due to tour New Zealand in February and March before hosting series against unknown opponents during the summer of 2021 which is also set to include the first The Hundred domestic competition.
The following year, England are due to enter a cricket team in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham while there are 20- and 50-over World Cups as well as an Ashes series.
Brunt said: “It stresses me to think about 2022 because it sounds like I will be in a wheelchair by the end of it.
“I have got to get my head around what my body can handle. I might have to sit one of the World Cups out.
“I always thought I couldn’t handle another 50-over World Cup but now I don’t know where I am with that.
“I 100 per cent want to play in the Commonwealth games and Twenty20 World Cup. There is an Ashes that year as well which I would love to play in because I am sick of losing them.”
The Stars made it six wins from six completed matches on Saturday as Brunt took two wickets then they chased Sydney Thunder’s total of 131.
She was then rested from Sunday’s match which brought a first defeat as they lost to city rivals Melbourne Renegades in a ‘super over’ after a tie.
The Stars then won against Brunt’s former club Perth Scorchers on Monday.
They also beat Hobart Hurricanes on Wednesday with Brunt taking two for 12 off her four overs.