Heather Knight was pleasantly surprised to find excellent crowds coming out to watch the women’s T20I series between India and England at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium. Women’s cricket wasn’t so popular when she first came to India, in 2010, to make her England debut.
“It is great to see that players like Smriti Mandhana are being recognised for their efforts,” the England captain told The Hindu. “I know the 2017 World Cup made a big impact on the women’s game in India.”
She had captained England to triumph in that World Cup, beating India by nine runs in the humdinger of a final. The Women in Blue had shocked the host in the first round.
“Winning the World Cup is the greatest moment of my life,” Knight said. “I was only a year into the job; we weren’t the favourites,” she said.
“India played brilliantly in the semifinal (against Australia). It was almost perfect — the host against India in the final, that too at Lord’s, my favourite ground; it’s just five or six miles from where I live.”
On this tour, however, England lost the ODI series played in Mumbai before the T20s.
“It was disappointing to lose the ODI series, in which I thought seamer Shikha Pandey bowled really well and was unlucky not to win the Player-of-the-Series award,” she said. “But I am happy that we bounced back and won the T20s.”
The second match of the series was her 150th as a Lioness.
“I wasn’t aware of that, until my father mailed me a picture of him raising a glass for my 150th game,” she said.
“I didn’t expect to play this many games when I made my debut at the Bandra Kurla Complex Ground in Mumbai nine years ago, along with Danielle Wyatt, who, too, is still with the team.”
From her 151 games, Knight has made 3,419 runs across formats. She would have loved to play more than the six Tests she has.
The 157 she made in the 2013 Test against Australia in the Wormsley Test remains her most satisfying innings. She had batted for 417 minutes and faced 338 balls.
“I have never been mentally more drained in my life,” she said. “And I had the worst night’s sleep ever, too; I was playing cover drives in my sleep. But it felt great that I could help England draw that Test and win the Ashes.”