Heather Knight suffered an injury scare in the build-up to the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 but is now back up to full fitness and the England captain is relishing the chance to lead her country on home soil.
The 26-year-old picked up a metatarsal stress fracture on her left foot at the start of May, initially fearing that it would compromise her tournament.
She was back in action last week for the first time in a warm-up match and is confident that she will be ready to go for the opening game against India in Derby.
“When I first discovered that I was injured, there are always those horrible thoughts that go through your head that you’re going to miss the World Cup, which wasn’t that nice,” she said.
“After that we got a plan together and realised it was going to be tight but I was always confident I was going to make it back.
“It’s frustrating, I’m probably not the best injured person and the best at sitting still and doing what I’m told.
“But I’ve been able to do quite a lot and sometimes when you’re watching, you pick up things that you don’t really see when you’re engrossed in the game so that’s been quite good to do that.
“It’s probably given me a bit of mental freshness as well. It’s not been ideal but there are some positives to take and the main thing is to make sure I’m ready for that tournament come June 24.”
Home soil has been kind to England in previous major tournaments, having won each of the last two editions of the ICC WWC they have hosted, as well as the World Twenty20 in 2009.
With the scale of the 2017 competition set to mark a turning point in the history of the women’s game, Knight knows that a repeat will not be easy, but is desperate to reach the final at Lord’s on 23 July.
She added: “It’s going to be a brilliant tournament, the support we have had from the tournament, I think it’s going to be the most visible and supported Women’s World Cup we’ve had.
“In terms of the cricket, the standard of teams has definitely improved. There are a lot more players from different countries playing in the Big Bash and the Super League, playing against and with international teammates so I think it’s going to be a really good tournament.
“There are a lot of exciting players in every team and we’ll look to try to do the best we can and hopefully be in with a good chance of winning it.
“The girls are all really excited, it’s a once in a career sort of thing to play in a home World Cup. That final at Lord’s is a massive carrot, you have to play well to get there but hopefully we can make the most of home support.
“When you play at home, you have those little windows to get away and catch up with people a little bit more. Hopefully it will work in our favour a little bit. We know the conditions really well, we’ve played at a lot of the grounds over the last few years so hopefully we can use that to our advantage.
“We’ll take confidence from the fact that teams have done so well in the past. We had an England team dinner a couple of months ago which involved all men’s and women’s cricketers and we met a lot of the 1993 World Cup-winning team so we heard their stories and some brought their gold medals to the dinner which was nice and should give us some added inspiration for the tournament.”