World Cup winner Alex Hartley is eyeing a place on the Ashes tour in October.
Fresh from taking two wickets at Lord’s in the thrilling World Cup Final victory over India, the Clitheroe ace is looking to cement her England place for the flight Down Under.
England and Australia will meet in the first women’s day-night Test during the series, which starts in Brisbane on October 22nd, with the first of three one-day internationals.
The day-night Test match at the North Sydney Oval starts on November 9th, and will be followed by three Twenty20 internationals, as England look to wrest the urn away from Australia.
The 23-year-old will link up again this week with Surrey Storm in the KIA Superleague, before returning to home county Lancashire.
Hartley said: “We’ve had 10 days off and now I join up again with Surrey back down south, then towards the end of the season I’m back with Lancashire.
“Then it’s the Ashes in Australia in October, and hopefully we can do the double and win there to add to the World Cup, that would be fantastic.
“Hopefully I’ve cemented my place in the squad now.
“Australia will start as favourites, but we have real momentum now.”
The World Cup Final was playing in front of a sell-out 26,500 crowd at Lord’s, with a peak audience of 1.1million viewers on Sky Sports, and cricket could well make a return to the Olympic
Games in Paris in 2024, by which time Hartley will only be 30, and the prospect excites her: “Tyhere’s been talk about it in the papers, and it would be fantastic, particularly from where women’s cricket has come from.
“It’s an exciting moment for the sport.”
The sport has developed exponentially in recent years, a far cry from Hartley’s beginnings in the game: “I lived on a culdesac full of lads, who all played football, but decided to play cricket instead.
“My mum said ‘not another sport!’But I fell in love with it from there.
“I had to play in matches to deserve any kit, to take wickets to get my bat, a run out to get pads and so on, but give me somethingo work to, and I’ll stick at it.”
She was a trailblazer, going on to play first team cricket in the Ribblesdale Senior League – the first female to play for Clitheroe in 2012.
Hartley then created history as part of the first MCC age group women’s side in 226 years in 2013, and has represented the England Women’s Academy, England Under 17s and Under 19s, and the senior side.
She met opposition along the way: “There were not many women playing at the time, and there was the thought from some people that women shouldn’t be playing.
“There were some snide comments, and I still get it now, but I think we’ve proved them wrong.”