England captain Heather Knight: West Indies tour ‘like traveling back in time’; “Tight” for Alice Capsey to make T20 World Cup | Cricket News

England captain Heather Knight: West Indies tour ‘like traveling back in time’; “Tight” for Alice Capsey to make T20 World Cup | Cricket News

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Heather Knight says England’s tour of the West Indies “was like stepping back in time” as she stressed the importance of keeping women’s international cricket strong and revealed Alice Capsey faces a race to play for the To be fit for the T20 World Championship in February.

England have won each of the seven games they have played in the Caribbean so far, winning the one-day international series 3-0 before registering victories in their first four T20 internationals – with the Decision Review System not available for all games was.

Capsey broke her collarbone during the opening ODI in the field and while Knight remains “hopeful” the 18-year-old will recover in time for the World Cup in South Africa – which England are aiming to win for the first time since 2009 – she says will “closely”.

Alice Capsey (PA Images)

Image: England all-rounder Alice Capsey, 18, bats to be fit for the T20 World Cup

Ahead of Thursday’s fifth and final T20 international, Knight said: “We haven’t been challenged massively, which is a bit of a shame – you always want to be under pressure and win those tight games as it sharpens you, but our intensity and will to win is still there absolutely normal.

“Not having a third referee or DRS was strange, almost like stepping back in time. You just get used to it and take it for granted that you have it. It’s frustrating, but ultimately it’s all about the money available.

“Keeping the international game strong and investing in it is so important. There’s a lot of change on the horizon with the start of the franchise tournaments – IPL, PSL – but I think it’s important that the international game is maintained strongly in all countries and still at the top of the game.

“We’ve seen the changes in the men’s game and they could impact the women’s game more with the difference in depth of some teams as players choose to go down the franchise route and play less cricket for more money.”

Heath Knight

PICTURED: England skipper Knight returns to action after hip surgery

“It feels like we’re at the beginning of something”

The West Indies white ball matches are the first under new head coach Jon Lewis, with the former England men’s bowling coach urging Knight’s side to play an aggressive variant of cricket.

The tour also marked Knight’s comeback after a hip problem kept her sidelined since July, with the 31-year-old saying the time away from the game and trying to help England’s young players, including in-form Seam bowler Lauren Bell, 21, “thrive”. “breathed new life” into her.

The skipper added: “It feels like we are at the beginning of something. We’ve done a lot of things really well, ticked a lot of boxes holistically, outside of winning in terms of growing roster depth.

“We created chances and a lot of players took those chances. We have a really big pool of players to choose from and we feel like we have brilliant players when we have injuries.

Lauren Bell (Photo credit – CWI Media)

Image: Lauren Bell has won 13 wickets in five games on England’s tour of the Caribbean (Image – CWI Media)

“It’s about continuing the way we play and doing it under pressure in big world events. There is excitement and real buy-in from the players.

“The fresh blood we brought in over the summer has been so healthy for the group and created competition.

“You’re always trying to improve as a player, knowing that someone is ready to come in and kick you out. It’s a nice competition to keep going and trying to achieve great things as a team.

“They’re gaining so much confidence and momentum, that’s important and we’ll have a couple of games before the World Cup to refine things and prepare really well.”

Will Sciver return as vice-captain?

Like Knight, all-rounder Nat Sciver returned to international action in the West Indies, with the 30-year-old missing the India series in September to prioritize her mental health.

Sciver, who has hit half a century in two of the three ODIs, has not resumed her role as vice-captain, but Knight says there’s a chance she might do so in the future.

The captain added: “She has not self-excluded [vice-captaincy] but that’s for the whole line. Nat’s tour was about getting back to playing cricket and she did amazingly well.

“For her to act the way she did in the ODI series after not acting for a long time is remarkable. It was so nice to have her back and she is a key tooth in our plans.”

England begin their T20 World Cup campaign against the West Indies on February 11 in Paarl live on InNewCL Sports.

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