Portsmouth fan Anya Shrubsole aiming to make it sixth time lucky in women’s T20 World Cup
Anya Shrubsole will be aiming for sixth time lucky when she competes in her latest Women’s T20 World Cup finals.
The avid Pompey fan has been a losing finalist three times and a beaten semi-finalist once in her previous five World Cups.
In the last three tournaments, England have lost to Australia each time - twice in the final (2014 and 2018) and once in the last four (2016).
But national team coach Lisa Keightley is expecting their luck to change when the latest competition begins in Australia next month.
Keightley, the first female coach of the England women’s team, knows the land Down Under like the back of her hand as former Australia coach.
She admits her home nation start as favourites on February 21, but claims her knowledge of conditions will play to England’s advantage.
‘I am planning to be in the final and I know the players are as well,’ she said.
‘I wouldn’t have gone for this role if I didn’t think we had a chance to win.
‘We have a lot of options and covered most bases. We have a lot of variety.’
Shrubsole - player of the match when England won the women’s 50-over World Cup in 2017 - should benefit from seam-friendly conditions in Australia as she aims to become only the third bowler to take 100 women’s T20 international wickets.
The 29-year-old currently has 90 from 68 games. Not only is she her country’s highest-ever wicket-taker in the format, she also boasts the best figures - 5-11 against New Zealand in 2012.
England have made the final in four of six editions of the short-form showpiece but will need to overhaul the hosts, who beat them soundly in last summer’s Ashes.
An upcoming tri-series against Australia and India will form the first opportunity for Keightley to run the rule over a World Cup squad which also includes top order pair Dani Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont.
Both those women are well known to south coast fans having played for Southern Vipers in the 2019 Kia Super League tournament.
Wyatt and Shrubsole have also been signed by the Southern Brave franchise ahead of this summer’s inaugural Hundred competition.
“Every tournament you play is important, but we need to make sure we see what we have and what the best teams are,” said Keightley.
“You want to win as many games as you can but also a bit of planning and thinking that if someone gets injured, we have players that have had the opportunity to build confidence if they have to step up.
‘I want us to be positive, I want us to play with confidence and freedom because the players know their game and their strengths.
‘Under pressure, I hope they would use them.’
England squad: Heather Knight (cap, Berkshire), Tammy Beaumont (Kent), Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire), Kate Cross (Lancashire), Freya Davies (Sussex), Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire), Georgia Elwiss (Sussex), Sarah Glenn (Worcestershire), Amy Jones (wicketkeeper, Warwickshire), Nat Sciver (Surrey), Anya Shrubsole (Berkshire), Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire), Fran Wilson (Kent), Danni Wyatt (Sussex), Mady Villiers (Essex)
Three former Southern Vipers have signed for the Southern Brave franchise women’s team.
Fi Morris, Lauren Bell and Paige Scholfield will all take part in the inaugural Hundred tournament this coming July and August. All three appeared for the Vipers in the 2019 Kia Women’s Super League tournament.
England T20 international Sophia Dunkley has also joined Charlotte Edwards’ squad. The all-rounder - she bowls leg-spin and provides lower-order runs - helped Surrey Stars win the 2018 Kia League.
The quartet join previously announced England internationals Anya Shrubsole and Danni Wyatt, West Indian superstar Stafanie Taylor and New Zealand batsman Suzie Bates.