Clitheroe spin bowler Alex Hartley is ready to continue her return from the international wilderness after being selected for England Women Academy’s tour of Dubai.
The 21-year-old was part of the England set-up six years ago but has only come back into the fold in the last year.
That return saw her form part of the side that took on South Africa in the summer, and she is now preparing for another outing after head coach Lisa Keightley named her as one of 14 players to take on Australia in four 50-over matches and two Twenty20s in Dubai in a preamble to this summer’s Women’s Ashes.
Hartley insists she can’t wait to get back into action after a solid season at county level: “I was in the squad when I was 15 but got dropped and now this is my first year back involved. It went really quickly when I was young. I didn’t really know what was going on, and by the time I realised, I was out of the programme. But it was a good thing because I wasn’t ready.
“I had a pretty good county season last season but being selected on the academy was a complete shock. I just couldn’t believe it.
“I feel so much stronger now, I’m looking forward to the new season and I can’t wait to get out to Dubai.
“I’d love to get on and play, get a few wickets and get my name out there. I’m still one of the new ones so it would be good to jump into the deep end and show that I’m good enough to play for England.
“It would be a big step to get into the Ashes squad but as long as I get my name out there, who knows.”
• Follow the England Women’s Academy tour against the Australian Women’s Shooting Stars at www.ecb.co.uk - England take on Australia on home soil in the Women’s Ashes this summer, for more information and ticket details, visit www.ecb.co.uk