Alex is living the dream as she earns Ashes selection

Alex Hartley
Alex Hartley

Clitheroe’s Alex Hartley grew up watching the Ashes heroics of fellow Lancastrian Andrew Flintoff at ungodly hours of the morning.

And now she will get the chance to compete for the urn herself, after being named in the England squad to take on Australia down under.

The 24-year-old helped England win the World Cup on home soil earlier this summer, and was in the Surrey Stars side beaten in the semi-final of the KIA Super League.

She was thrilled to get the call from coach Mark Robinson that she was in the 15-strong squad for the seven-game series.

Hartley said: “It’s amazing, you can never expect it, so I was a little shocked when Mark Robinson called me.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to go over there and play an Ashes series, it’s the sort of thing you dream of when you’re a kid.

“I grew up watching the men’s Ashes, staying up to 4 a.m. watching Freddie Flintoff bowling, and I’m really exciting to be able to play in an Ashes myself.”

Back in July, Hartley took 2-31 in a three-run win over Australia in the group stages of the World Cup, at the Brightside Ground, Bristol, and she is eyeing a remarkable double: “To win the Ashes after winning the World Cup would make it a fantastic year for us, to do the double, but Australia will be tough, they are a strong side and will want to get one over on us after the World Cup.

“They’re going to come back fighting, they won’t go down without a fight.

“They’ve lost their captain Meg Lanning to injury, but are still a fantastic side with a strong batting line up, so it’s a big challenge, but one we’re looking forward to.”

England fly out early next month ahead of the series, which consists of three ODIs, one Test and three T20 games - with four points for a win and two for a draw in the Test, with two points for a win in all limited-overs games.

Long tours away from home can be a challenge in themselves, but she is excited by the prospect: “We’re going over early, on October 7th, so we’ll have a couple of weeks’ training before the first game, to get acclimatised.

“It’s a long time away from home, but I love it.

“There’ll be a lot of time in our rooms watching Netflix, but the sun is out and it’s a big opportunity for us.

“I’ve never played in an Ashes, but I’ve watched the last three or four from the sidelines and you are never out if it with the format, you can win the ODIs, and lose the Test, and it’s all to play for in the T20.

“It’s set up well for an exciting series.”