England’s Katherine Brunt has opened up on a difficult year that saw her miss the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20, but has set her sights on starring in this summer’s home Ashes.
Brunt missed the World T20 after being forced off the field in England’s warm-up match against India prior to the start of the tournament, with a flare-up of a recurring back injury ending her stay in the Caribbean.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Brunt said: "It's been one of the most challenging years I've ever had. I've obviously had a lot of issues with my back in the past but I've managed to grab a good four and a half years out of it, up to this point, so it's been very difficult.
"I've had a lot of pain and discomfort, a lot of standing to one side and watching the team, which has been really difficult, but the staff have been brilliant.
"Our physios here - Anna and Susan - have been brilliant with me and helped me to keep perspective because any athlete will know that when you're going through major rehab, it's a dark place to be and you can't quite see the other side of it."
In Brunt’s absence, England managed to reach the final of the tournament before succumbing to an eight-wicket defeat at the hands of Australia.
For Brunt, who was a crucial cog in England’s 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup win, her focus is now dedicated towards representing England in the Ashes. "For me, the Ashes are bigger than the World Cup," said Brunt. "It's the biggest event that I like to be a part of when I'm playing for England."
Australia currently hold the Ashes, although the previous multi-format series, which was held Down Under in 2017/18, saw the two teams finish on eight points each. The 2019 Women’s Ashes will be held in England across July, with a single Test sandwiched between three ODIs and then three T20Is.