Determined Heather Knight wants to be aggressive against rampant Australia
Heather Knight has laid out her plans for the upcoming Ashes tour to Australia. The England captain spoke after the England squad was announced. She expressed a desire for her team to play aggressively and take the attack to the Australians in their backyard.
“We’ve got to take the game to Australia. Any team that’s been successful against them has gone at them. Meet fire with fire, almost,” Knight said. England have failed to win the Ashes since 2013-14, when they won it Down Under. However, since then, Australia have pretty much dominated the Ashes. England lost the last edition at home by 4 points to 12, which included 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series.
“The Aussies are at their best when they’re on top of you and trying to exploit weakness so we’ve got to make sure we’re trying to punch first and be aggressive towards them and try and win those key battles very early because when they get on top, they’re quite hard to flip around,” Knight said.
Knight’s point of being aggressive against the Aussies is justifiable given the fact that they are arguably the strongest team in the world right now. Being the No. 1 side in both T20Is and ODIs, it is not wrong to say that England are the underdogs ahead of this series.
“We’ve got to be bold in terms of how we go about things, how we play our cricket, how we back our skills, because we’ve got some players, I think, definitely to go out there and be very successful. We’re going to have to play out of our skins. We’re going to have to be bold. We’re going to have to stand up to the Australians and that aggression they bring and win some key moments but it does feel like it’s a huge opportunity,” Knight said.
The Ashes will begin on January 27, 2022 with the one-off Test in Canberra. The two teams will further play in a three-match ODI series and three T20Is. Apart from this, England A squad was also announced. The 12-member squad will take on Australia A while the senior teams play the Ashes. The England captain welcomed this idea and called it exciting.
“There’s no guarantee that we’re going to add to that [senior] squad but there is space if someone impresses us to be able to be added to that, which is exciting,” Knight said. “We’ll only add someone if we feel they’re going to add value to the group and add value to the team. But it’s a huge opportunity for that A team,” Knight said.
“If those A girls have really good series in those warm-up games against us and also impress in those Australia A games, they’ve got the chance to make it into the full squad. And obviously the World Cup squad hasn’t been picked as well yet so there’s opportunities there,” the 30-year-old added.
The England skipper further spoke about the disappointing home Ashes in 2019 and how that has acted as a motivation for the upcoming Australian tour.
“The way we performed in 2019 I think has created real motivation, certainly for me and for the rest of the girls, how we played and how we didn’t perform in that Ashes series. We’ve improved, I think, as a team. We’ve got more leaders in the side since 2019. It would be probably one of the biggest achievements of my captaincy if we’re able to do that and get the Ashes back Down Under,” Knight concluded.