Saturday, May 18, 2024

Women’s Ashes: At times you felt England were very dependent on Ecclestone, says Edwards

Former England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards admitted that there were times during the ongoing Women’s Ashes Test at Trent Bridge where the hosts’ were very dependent on left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone to get crucial breakthroughs.

During Australia’s first innings of 473 in 124.2 overs, Sophie was the standout bowler for England, taking 5/129 from 46.2 overs, seen as heavy workload considering that women’s Test matches don’t happen frequently. The left-arm spinner had earlier bowled 64 overs during the one-off Test match against India at Bristol in 2021.

“She did bowl a lot of overs and at times you felt they were very dependent on her. It didn’t help that Nat Sciver-Brunt has got a bit of a niggle. But she seems to be coping with it very, very well and she doesn’t have a sore finger like Moeen Ali. You just hope she doesn’t have to keep bowling that amount of overs, but she did it brilliantly,” said Charlotte to Sky Sports.

Former England fast bowler Katherine Sciver-Brunt feels England got to take care of Sophie’s fitness in the long run, considering her bowling workloads in the Test match. “Sophie Ecclestone is a once-in-a-generation bowler. I feel extremely confident in saying that she will be England’s greatest spinner of all-time.”

“But what comes with being the best also equals being high in demand, and hopefully England won’t have to lean on her as much as they have here for the rest of the series. They’ve got to keep her in good health, that is the number one priority – not only for the rest of the Ashes, but the rest of her career – she’s still only 24,” she was quoted as saying by BBC.

Former England left-arm spinner Alex Hartley agreed with Katherine’s views. “The amount of overs she’s bowled in that first innings shows just how important she is to England and Heather Knight.”

“She does it all – she is economical and takes wickets. I love watching her bowl, she is a fantastic bowler with her height and the bounce that she gets. But I’m a bit worried that we’re going to bowl her into the ground during this Test match.”

What has also added to the dilemma of managing Sophie’s bowling workload is the fact that she was the only bowler offering her any control against a strong Australia batting line-up, adding to her zeal to get out as many wickets as possible. “When she’s in that mood it would have been very tough for Heather Knight to get the ball out of her hand.”

“In the moment, she will say she’s fine, but it’s about how she will feel in a few days’ time because at that young age, you don’t know when to stop – you feel a million dollars so why would you want to stop?” added Katherine.

Alex further recalled how Sophie was left in pain following the Test against India in 2021. “She is a different bowler to when we bowled her into the ground against India. In that game you could quite visibly see that her shoulder was sore, she was pressing it and having treatment, but now she seems all right.”

“She is fitter, stronger and she has played a lot more cricket. So, maybe she is absolutely fine to bowl all these overs – we will find out over the next couple of days,” she concluded.

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