Updated: Friday, 21st February 2020 @ 12:40pm

Knight's single-mindedness key to England women's cricket success, says former international Greenway

Knight's single-mindedness key to England women's cricket success, says former international Greenway

| By Jimmy Booker

Former international Lydia Greenway believes Heather Knight’s ability to stamp her authority on the team laid the foundations for England’s ICC Women’s World Cup success.

Knight was in her first major tournament as captain, taking over from a Charlotte Edwards-led regime which had seen England crowned as champions in 2009.

For many it would have been a step too far, particularly with the pressures of a home tournament, but for Knight it was merely water off a duck’s back.

And Greenway is adamant that adaptation proved the cornerstone to her country lifting the World Cup crown last month, keen to see how she pushes on in the coming months.

“Heather came in a tough situation, because it’s so hard to fill the boots of someone like Charlotte Edwards,” said Greenway. “She’s come in and did it her own way – it would have been hard for someone to come in and do things that Charlotte did. 

“She very much made it her own team and I think that’s one of the reasons why the team has been so successful.

“She loves the responsibility, she thrives under the pressure and she loves leading the team as well. I think that’s probably got a lot to do with it – you have to enjoy being captain.

“It’s a huge honour, but there comes a lot of responsibility with it as well."

Greenway was speaking at the Wicketz Festival, an annual event which saw Wicketz projects from across the country descend on Felsted School in Essex, launched by the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, the Lord’s Taverners, in 2012.

The day allowed budding cricketers to play competitively and receive coaching from former and current professionals Graham Napier, Greenway, Jason Gallian and Monty Panesar as well as workshops on social issues.

And for Greenway, a veteran of 132 WODIs for England, this session was about more than just swatting up on technical knowledge.

“It’s about giving the youngsters the opportunity to play cricket, and that’s why the Lord’s and Lady Taverners are so important – they provide that extra opportunity to play cricket and learn a lot more than just playing sport,” she said.

“One thing cricket is outstanding at is the spirit of cricket, and actually the education of young children about values.

“When you’re growing up, some people are very lucky in that they’ve got the opportunities on their doorstep. A lot of these children haven’t, and the fact this opportunity is being provided to them is massive.

“Hopefully they can go away with memories that will last a lifetime.”

The Wicketz programme is delivered by the UK's leading youth cricket and disability sports charity, the Lord's Taverners. The programme is aimed at hard to reach young people and provides a sustainable cricket environment with a focus on social cohesion and developing crucial life skills – go to www.lordstaverners.org to find out more.

Image courtesy of ECB via YouTube, with thanks.